What’s Cooking

For the past year I’ve been collecting recipes. From magazine, blogs, Pinterest. And now it’s time to start cooking and trying them out and building a very simple menu. I know that being on the Camino means we won’t have repeat customers. I could cook the same thing every day and never disappoint a Pilgrim with the monotony of a boring menu. But I might just bore myself. We wouldn’t want that.

There are things I love to eat that are really healthy, but I have never actually made them myself. Like quinoa. So now is my chance. I figure with just a few months before we open I should start cooking and testing recipes. I decided to start with one of Jeff’s favorites – vegetarian black bean and lentil chili. Well, not the vegetarian part. But he will live.

Vegetarian black bean and lentil chili 🌶 with corn

On a cold wet day on the Camino (like our weather today), chili will hit the spot. But I have to be careful because Spaniards are not typically fans of very spicy food. I find that, in general, most Europeans aren’t either. So while my first batch will be geared to Jeff, when I make it for the café it will need to be a lot less spicy. We like spicy food in our family. So spicy it can cure the common cold. For example, in my opinion, sushi should make you cry. Americans like spicier food. But I need to accommodate everyone’s taste, so perhaps I’ll have some spices available that can be added after the fact. Tabasco sauce or chili peppers. Maybe at a condiment bar. Hmmm. This batch is bubbling away in the Crock Pot. And the house smells like home.

Manna from Heaven

Jeff will have to get used to eating my test batches of vegetarian café food. I just hope it doesn’t make him grumpy. But it seems I chose the right day to kick my culinary experiments into high gear. Jeff got the news he’s been waiting for after 9 months of toe tapping and aggravatingly slow internet.

When we moved into our house in rural Spain, we headed into town on the day we arrived to get internet set up. Jeff needs it to work. They came out and installed it and it was…well, like the water pressure and the electrical supply. Almost nonexistent. But we made due. We have water now. And the electric company is working on stringing new lines. Great! But our internet? Nada. They swear there is no problem. But Jeff can no longer have the video on for his conference calls. And screen sharing for co-working or presentations? Impossible. But I was getting nowhere with Moviestar (our internet, mobile and cable provider). And then the notice came.

Starlink, that company started by Elon Musk to provide internet around the world to rural areas, has been launching satellites like crazy. We watched them go over head one night last May as the first set began their journey into orbit. It looked a bit like we were being invaded by aliens. Jeff had already signed up to be a beta customer. They promise quadruple the speed we get today. Is it the gigabit speed we had in Valencia? No. Do we need gigabit internet? Not really. But we do need something faster than a donkey with a cart passing notes in a 5th grade classroom! OK, I mixed some metaphors there but you get my meaning. Starlink speeds will be just great!

All the countries in the EU have already approved it. Spain, where things are always slower, had been dragging their feet. Jeff began grinding his teeth during the day. He needs good internet. His last update from Starlink was in December. They said it would be sometime before the end of 2023 that we might see their service in our area. But today we got the notice and we’ll have the equipment in 14 days. That’s right, amigos, Starlink is coming to the farm.

Soon I will be able to watch a movie and Jeff might be on a Teams call with video. I can hardly wait! And the best part is that I can offer free wifi to my customers at the food truck and in the cabins without bringing our internet to a screeching halt. Life just gets better every day! The solution to our internet problem didn’t fall out of the sky, because well, we want those satellites to stay aloft, but it is a bit like the answer came to us from the heavens.

Ring Ring, Lola Calling

No, not that Lola. Our tractor is still not here. Semana ochonada. But the other Lola did call, and my stamps are ready to be picked up. We couldn’t be happier. I’ll swing by tomorrow after we perform what is, I hope and pray, the final signature at the notaría for establishing our business. Then I can go to the bank and unlock my bank account and order my food truck. UGH.

And when I get home I’m going to stamp everything – old school style with my new wooden pilgrim passport stamp. Lola’s business prints everything. Aprons, baseball caps, etc. They will embroider jackets for me with my logo for cold, dark Camino mornings. Who knows what new wardrobe additions are in my future. Sadly, I think they will include fleece, but needs must. Maybe I’ll do a giveaway on the blog of Happiness merchandise. That might be a fun promotion.

The sky’s the limit, it seems. And now, we have Starlink internet to prove it.

3 thoughts on “What’s Cooking

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