>A friend of mine, Chino, who lives in Santa Barbara which is a section of Colonial Zone, invited me for some sancocho (sancocho recipe-opens in a new window)) so I happily obliged. When I got there all the neighbors were out and about near the small Colmado. Chino introduced me around and we got ourselves a bottle of rum waiting until the food was ready.
After we mixed our drinks he took me by the hand across the street to see the cooking that was under way. In a giant pot (picture of a lady cooking sancocho-opens in a new window) over a small fire the typical Dominican stew was already cooking. they had a large sheet of tin across the pot to protect it from the constant drizzle we were experiencing. The smell coming from the pot was wonderful. The man cooking the stew was cutting up ingredients and adding them to the brew. He had the pinion with garlic and other herbs and spices and was mashing them up to add to the pot. Everyone kept coming over to look, smell and sometimes add other ingredients and some dumplings as we all waited.
A man came by with a bunch of cangrejo (picture-opens in a new window) and we haggled on a price for a dozen or these crabs. They were still alive, all tied together, with their little pinchers opening and closing. I felt bad, but not too bad, that I was going to kill them when their little beady eyes were looking at me. I got over the feeling bad part as we took those tasty crustaceans and threw them in a pot on the fire alongside the sancocho. We added a few green herbs to their pot and waited for the water to boil.
The crabs were ready. We got a tray, dumped them on it and enjoyed them with a little lemon. Man, they were tooo yummy! While I was eating the crabs the pot of sancocho was ready to eat.
All the neighbors came out with they’re bowls, pans, foam food containers and their spoons. The cook guy ladled out the stew into everyones containers. People found a place to sit and everyone was enjoying. It was a real neighborhood feast. I got me a pink plastic bowl and a plastic spoon and got my share, sat on a plastic beer crate and ate every drop.
Funny, I usually do lots of talking (ask anyone), but I can tell you that for at least 10 minutes the only sound that came out of my mouth were yummy sounds. That stuff was sooo good. It hit the spot for sure. The hot stew made the cold (yes, it was cold, maybe about 76 degrees Fahrenheit…brrr) go away.
Then, when the entire kettle was empty and our tummy’s were all filled, everyone started to disappear into their homes. I did the same. I walked directly to my home and did the worst thing ever, went to sleep with a full, happy stomach and did not fell in the least bit bad about it (except for a little heartburn later in the night and a few more pounds added to my gutt).
I can’t wait until the next time to do exactly the same thing again. They also told me if I ever know any tourists that want to join in to bring them along.