I have been in Panama for over a month now, and I have seen the city, the jungle, the beach all while meeting some awesome people. The one thing about home that I truly do miss is football, namely Purdue football. I haven’t missed a single home game in the past four years, and tailgating makes this game a pastime. I miss the grill. I miss pork, the beef, chicken, barbecue, and my personal favorite peppers stuffed with cream cheese wrapped in a piece of bacon.
As good as that menu is, I think the patacón should be added. It would complement those meat items so well. The sliced and fried green plantain is my favorite Panamanian food item so far. It’s not Panamanian food unless it’s fried! I have had it at least 10 times, including one time for breakfast. In fact, just this week I had some fresh patacónes from our garden in San Miguel that had been planted last fall by current valley Directors Brigitte Desvaux and Max Cooper.
Some refer to it as the French fry of the tropics; though, one can make an argument for the yucca. For me, it reminds me of the pub chips from my favorite restaurant 9 Irish Brothers in West Lafayette, Indiana. According to our valley chef Largo, patacónes are very simple to make. Just slice the plantain width wise so that each slice is coin-shaped, fry, mash, and fry again for a few seconds. Add some salt and ketchup or hot sauce (the preferable choice by my fellow interns) and you have an appetizing snack or breakfast that is cheap and simple to make. I can’t wait to make them when I get back in November for the final Purdue game of the season. Look out West Lafayette!