Cooking lessons from Panamanian matriarchs:
1. Only deep fry in vegetable oil. Canola tastes too heavy, and olive oil is too dangerous!
2. Deep fried plantain chips should always be made while still green and need no other seasoning than love.
3. Time is the real secret ingredient, so wherever you can, marinate for days, braise for hours, and allow ingredients to reduce over heat until they have been distilled to their essential goodness.
4. Fried pork is perhaps the naughtiest appetizer invented
5. Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, onion, garlic, salt, and season-all can and should be applied in all meat situations.
6. Flan should be drunker than the cook: steeped in rum for a week
7. Dried-out beef slow cooked in tomatoes and Panamanian spices is a treat from meat heaven.
8. Always save your cooking oil from frying plantains and pork to flavor rice or any other dish.
9. Never underestimate the deliciousness of rice and beans.
10. Beauty is possible well into one's eighth decade with enough good food, alcohol, and company.
Thank you Maria and Tia Venus for your fabulous cooking and hospitality!