Food is the bond that brings us all together on daily bases. It’s sad when I can’t sit down with people and enjoy a good meal and some pleasant conversation. Not being opposed to just scarfing down some food, alone and in my own thoughts. The experience of eating with others is an enhancement of the consumption. Well as long as the food is good! Personally I don’t like to dine out for meals I can make at home, unless they are exceptionally good. The care in spices, heat, prep, timing and of course freshness are the factors for success. Maybe I always consider this the love that needs to go into the making of each dish.
When I cook I typically think of the people I’m serving and how much I want them to enjoy the dish. It’s pride, the pat on the back but really it’s the expression on ones face. The truth comes out quickly, maybe for only a moment, but what a great moment.
Recently being in Aruba and eating the local flair, isn’t quite as diverse as one would expect for a tropical island. It’s basically a desert island that has always relied on merchant/trade ships to provide essential cooking ingredients and staples to help off-set what can be produced or provided on the island and in the sea. Currently it’s still a land of sparse supply. In a way it was nice to see smaller portions being sold. The feeling of buying just what you need. Escaping the over abundance of the states. Ah simplicity.
Edam, the traditional Dutch yellow cheese with the red wax shell is edible. Well at least the thin rind that remains after the cheese is consumed. So think of this, eat a 4 lb block of cheese (yes that’s a lot) keeping the wax shell intact and using a double boiler steam the wax away leaving the thin rhin. The rhin is stuff with chicken, spices and some vegetables to give it texture and taste. Yum!
This authentic dish is called Keshi Yena and isn’t served a single restaurant in Aruba.
You can only be served the version of the this dish with 2 slices of Edam or Gouda cheese. It’s just not the same. The recommandation is the time, patience and love (of cheese) will yield you one fantastic meal after that massive 4 lbs block of cheese is gone. It almost seems you wouldn’t want to eat another bite of cheese after that, but believe me this is one incredibly great dish that you just can’t get at a restaurant.
It may take you 2 months to prep for the dish but think of the frugality native Arubans have endured over the years. This would be a traditional special meal. Especially when provisions had to last from the visit of one sailing ship to the call of another.