Saturday, June 29, 2013

Costa Rica was an expensive coffee break. My mother's fault though!

I can always conveniently blame my mother for this Costa Rica trip.

During my childhood days, even before I started drinking coffee--no coffee for us kids back then--the adults were always ooh and aah over the coffee that mother prepared for them.  A much older neighbor, who was a close family friend as well, would even comment that he swung by our home only to have coffee.

A lot of work went into this coffee making.  Mother bought the beans in the raw and roasted them over wood/charcoal fire in the backyard.  These roasted beans were then ground in a manually-cranked coffee grinder and, thus, it was always freshly ground coffee, so to say.  Many nights my brother and I have helped mother with grinding the coffee as one of the final activities before she closed down the kitchen--this way, little time needed to be spent early in the morning.

One of the toughest adjustments the entire family had to make when we moved to Madras (as it was known then) was to get used to the taste of coffee made from the powder purchased at the local stores.  The family did adjust to that inferior taste, similar to how we get used to so many less than exciting developments in life.

Chocolate croissant from the store, and home-made cappuccino, in my yard
I moved on to the US.  I like to joke that I moved to America so that I could continue with my coffee addiction.

My second year in the US, I went to the campus health center because of acute stomach pains.   The doctor said it was acidity, and asked me to avoid spicy foods and coffee.  I told him I could easily forego the spicy foods, which I have faithfully complied with ever since.  But, I could not be without coffee.

The good doctor's suggestion was a compromise: I shouldn't drink coffee by itself and that it should be accompanied by some kind of food, even if only cookies.  Which is when I got into eating Pepperidge Farm cookies!

That advice has, in turn, triggered a devotion to cookies, cakes, and pastries.  In this case, the doctor, not my mother, is to be blamed!

It is, therefore, no surprise, that I have many coffee preparation gadgets at home now.  An old Madras filter that I brought with me during the graduate school days but haven't used it since my second year in these United States.  One small coffeemaker for my regular life. A large coffeemaker that I use when I have guests.

And then there are the gadgets that I take out every once in a while for an even more leisurely life.  A simple espresso/cappuccino machine that I bought after I fell in love with espressos and cappuccinos during that visit to Italy fifteen years ago. A few years ago, my daughter bought me a stove-top coffeemaker from her European trip with her boyfriend (now her husband.)

It was also my daughter who gifted me an old-style cloth-based coffee-filtering setup that she picked up for me during her week in Costa Rica. It is a display object, yes, but one that served as a daily reminder--Costa Rica, some day .  Thus, I can blame my daughter also for this trip.

You can see why, therefore, before leaving on the trip, I emailed two friends with the subject line "off to drink coffee in Central America."

An expensive coffee break, yes,  But, as that old coffee advertisement goes, "good to the last drop!"

Now, the coffee break is over. I have to return to my regular activity.  My twenty-five year old fascination with Costa Rica did not fail me even one bit.  She turned out to be even better than I had imagined she would be.  If only everything in life measured up to be better than the best scenarios we imagine.

With so many other places that I want to visit before I exit this lovely planet, I doubt whether I will ever return to Costa Rica.  I won't see those volcanoes ever again. Nor the peaceful waterfalls, the greenery, the flowers, the wonderful food, and, above all, some of the prettiest and friendliest people.

Such is life!

The wonderful memories I will have with me as I recap my life as that final coffee drop rolls down from my mouth and stains the white hospital bed sheet..

Coffee with the jackfruit halva that mother made at home


Ramesh said...

Yes, you are hereby appointed President of the TamBrahm Worldwide club !

Much impressed by your array of coffee machines, except disappointment at the Madras filter being steel instead of copper. You are hereby demoted to the Vice Presidency of the aforesaid club.

Wonderful post except for that rubbish last line. One of these days I am going to give you a kick for alluding to the d word a tad too often. Its going to come; so why anticipate it.

Sriram Khé said...

oh come on ... "Stainless steel" has been the norm for decades now. You cannot demote me based on that. Unfair. I am complaining to the TamBrahm folks. (I have to find a poonal first though!!!)

When I compile the posts for my parents, rest assured that the final line will be tweaked to reflect optimism ;)

Shachi said...

enjoyed the series....the pictures and your description of the should be a travel writer (it's my dream profession :))....

do you recommend a trip there with the kiddos being so young? i'm thinking of going somewhere in December and considering CR.

Sriram Khé said...

Thx, Shachi

Oh, I think the kids will have a wonderful time if you take them when they can begin to understand things and ask questions out of curiosity. That will be a far greater return on the investment, I would think, than anytime before that ... in one of my posts, I mentioned a family with two girls, about 9 and 7 years old. They were curious, and asked questions. When the guide asked if they would like to hold the beetle and the worm, the reactions of o the younger one was that it was the best thing ever in her life ;)

Most read this past month