If you’ve never heard of an empanada, don’t despair.
Surely you’ve heard of a turnover?
Or perhaps you’ve heard of a pasty, or a calzone or a meat-filled pastry? Okay. We’re cookin’ now (albeit only figuratively).
Now, see, empanadas are highly regional in all of Spain and Latin America, and I suspect that every countryman thinks his or her version of the empanada is not just the better one, but the ONLY one. It’s really that simple: millions of others can create the same floury envelope and stuff it with exactly the same fillings, but somehow the one you grew up with is the one that is the original in your heart.
(except for Argentine empanadas: those are just awesome)
The Bogotan empanada looks like a golden half-moon thanks to the yellow corn flour that is fried to a crispy shell. Inside comes a filling that features ground meat, rice, little bitty yellow potatoes and other delightfuls that come together in a delicious amalgam which is not too crumbly and not too runny: perfect for eating at recess or on the go (or when you’re having recess on the go, as I usually did, that being a story for another day).
In other words, when done right, a Bogotan empanada is a glorious yellow semicircle of joy. And when coupled with a cold Coca-Cola, it tastes like some of the best moments of my school life– which is in itself a great big compliment and an exclusive category unto itself.
No need to remind me of the fact that soda is all kinds of evil, dear Internets. I know. But as with the best laid plans of mice and men, it seems this pregnancy is not as smooth a sail as pregnancy #1, and wouldn’t you know it? The only thing that seems to be settling my stomach is … soda. Specifically, a cold Coca-Cola (or, if available, a blonde and sparkly Ginger Ale) seems to be my panacea.
So this morning in the middle of my errands, I stopped by the little Colombian market just off Arlington Boulevard and while getting rung up for other things, I just had to have an empanada. And well, while we’re at it, and it being close to recess time, why not have a Coke?
It might sound atrocious to you– fried meat cake with evil soda?
But, really, there are no words to describe the joy of today so I’ll leave it at that.