The summer before my sophomore year of high school (a wee babe of 15), I went to Guatemala with my good friend Cristian for two weeks. It was my first and only time in Central America and I was a complete fish out of water. Knowing very minimal Spanish, I was thrust into a world of his extended family, into a small town outside of Guatemala City, shy and unsure of myself.
But it was an amazing experience. By day, we’d explore the ruins of the town, soak up the local culture and sample authentic Guatemalan home cooking. And at night, we’d binge reruns of WB’s Jack and Bobby, episodes of CSI and trashy American movies, that amidst a culture and world I was a stranger in, made me feel at home. I brushed my teeth with filtered water and tried desperately to understand all the Spanish around me, finding a common ground in American celebrities and pop culture.
During that two weeks, Cristian’s grandmother, Tita, was the judge for the local Miss Antigua Pageant, where fifteen girls would compete for the local honor.For a gringa like me this was probably the most surreal yet oddly familiar experience of the trip. We got a behind the scenes look at the wardrobe fittings, and dance rehearsals and even in Spanish, I could recognize the talent, evening gown and Q&A portions of the pageant (I have seen Miss Congeniality more times than I can count).
One weekend we went with Cristian’s relatives to a beach a few hours away. While this trip is a blur (it has been years since, mind you), I’ve always remembered the Huevos Rancheros someone made one morning. It was the first time I had ever had this dish and looking back I wish I had appreciated it more or could even remember more about it!
Anytime, I make this dish now, I think back on my two weeks there with fond memories.
- 2 cups salsa
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
- 4 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 scallions, sliced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 small flour tortillas, warmed
- ½ cup sour cream
- In a large skillet, combine the salsa and beans and bring to a simmer.
- Make 4 wells in the bean mixture. Crack each egg into a small bowl and slide it gently into a well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook, covered, over medium heat, 3 to 5 minutes for slightly runny yolks.
- Sprinkle with the scallions and cilantro. Divide among plates and serve with the tortillas and sour cream.