A Year Of Loss And Hardship

“Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.”


What a year 2020 has been!

But I will not dwell on it, you know as well as everyone else, and no doubt you have your own share of stories, I will focus on a positive note.

Through my life despite an introverted character that pulls me hard towards seclusion, and the act of going out of the house not unpleasant, but certainly I see it as a task, or a chore, I rather would like to do the things I enjoy more, like drinking my coffee through my lips slowly, in the company of a good book, or with a nice small group of friends sharing diner, or cuddling up with my loved one, not that I have one at the moment, well let’s get to the point I need exercise for my body, this covid-19 quarantine, has being a real disaster on my efforts to be in shape, and with the never ending pandemic in sight, now since a month decided to do 25 minutes from my old routines, that I used to do years ago, at my Dojo.

My Old Dojo

Before the pandemic my only source of exercise was to walk for all my errands daily, carrying my groceries, or whatever back to home, and since I live far enough from where I do my errands, this was always enough to keep me in shape, without worrying about getting out of shape.
But I confess doing my old routines in the backyard, it’s not only tough, and demanding, but boring, doing it by myself.

So, since last week I decided after my workout, to supplement it, with a walking around my neighborhood through two parks, one small, and the other larger, but do it at a very early hour hoping will not be crowded, to my surprise I was right, at that hour there was almost nobody, except for very few people, but as I observed them realized all of them were old like myself , and even some even older!

Older folks Doing Their Daily Walk

Most of them by themselves, few older couples, and all of them at safe a distance, not exactly a crowd, by any means, but what amazed me more was this really old, and heavy lady with a special cane for walking, she really has to do a great effort, and don’t believe she walks short distances, despite her obvious efforts in walking, I have seen her now all over the place since!

Now, reflecting life is tough, and full of hardships, but we old folks, who have cling to it for quite a while, we must find life also precious, to hang around just a little bit more, if we can.


Old news, but how was your Thanksgiving day?

Now hope you all guys despite traveling limitations had a nice Thanksgiving, I got to confess the tradition in America was foreign to me,  before my time in the US Thanksgiving was just a day you go to church and offer thanks to the Lord, then you out of church go back to your daily routine, not a special day after, in anyway.

So when arriving in the US and finding it was a general Holliday, and a precious one, where you go to be together with family members before Christmas, well it was new to me.

I got to confess I was invited, a few times to some people’s home, Thanksgivings, specially by a good friend and his mother of German origin who prepared delicious dinners for us.

Thanksgiving Food Display-

But as a guest, myself never hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, but I have a tale of making a foreign dish, and taking it to a Thanksgiving gathering, at the house of a cousin of my current girlfriend at the time, quite some years ago.

Nowadays here in America everybody is a gourmand, but it was not always so, the late eighties, and early nineties, saw an explosion of a new bug, the taste of foreign cuisines. In my opinion now we are kind of spoiled we enjoy the food from almost all over the World, on our own cities, when before asking for a foreign delicacy was almost unheard of, even supposedly foreign restaurants catered stuff like Chinese Chop-Suey, or Italian spaghettis with meat balls, as examples of what we passed for a foreign dish, or as an old friend of mine used to say: “A Chef Boyardee  can out of the grocery shop,  that was Italian food for me then, imagine! And I used to think, what’s the big deal about Italian food?”

Rut Tam wrote:

‘My family’s food went from ‘Chinese grossness’ to America’s ‘hottest food trend. The lengths to which immigrant families have gone to hide the way we feed ourselves break my heart.’

Chinese Food

Well back to my story, my girlfriend was supposed to cook a dish, whatever she wished to do, I had been along with her the year before, and my girlfriend spent the better of a day cooking a dish and complaining what an ordeal it was.

As the days went on, the next year approached to Thanksgiving,  my girlfriend started to dread the idea, of cooking another dish for the gathering, seeing her distress, and remembering all her worries and nervous state she got, not to say the mood she will get into, I offered  to stop worrying about it, this year will be my time to do a dish, to take to her cousin’s Thanksgiving.

What should I cook for Thanksgiving

She was relieved, but every day first thing on the morning, she will ask me:

“Have you thought about what you are going to cook for Thanksgiving?

To which I will replay nonchalantly:  “Not really, but do not worry I will think of something to cook, just leave it to me.”

But as the day approached she got really worried and pestered me the day before Thanksgiving, I mean she was close to a nervous breakdown!

I said to her: “Stop worrying I will cook them a Mole.”

“A what!?”

“A Mole, dear.”

“I never heard of such a thing!”

“Well it’s a very well known Mexican dish.”

She replied: “Well you better get going now, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! And where are the groceries?”

“ I will pick them up this evening after work”  was my calm reply, and I did, that evening went to the market and picked all I needed.

Mole for Sale at El Mercado

My girlfriend thought I will spend all night laboring on it, I just told her: “Look I will wake up real early, and the Mole will be ready before we have to go into the car on the way to your cousin, meanwhile you go and do whatever, but please I do not want you behind my shoulder a nervous rag watching me cook, go for a walk, relax get a hot  bath, and get your outfit ready, or whatever you need to do like putting gas on the car.

Got Busy Cooking

So I start cooking with the kitchen all to myself, and by the time she got ready, my dish was almost done, she come into the kitchen saying:

“God! That stuff you are cooking it’s all over the place, does not smell bad, but what the hell is Mole?”

Coming behind me, her eyes went as big as saucers when she saw the big pot with mole brewing.

She just went ballistic! In all truthfulness I could not blame her, she has never seen Mole before and the way it looks may surprise many, in an off way.

Mole Pot

She tried to stay calm but she told me and with good reason, nobody will like to even try it.

For the first time she put a little seed of doubt on my mind, and even told her: “Look if you do not want it, we can leave it here, and buy whatever prepared food you want.”

Not wanting to hurt my feelings she just reluctantly went along, I loaded the Mole into the car, making sure it would not roll out, and spill. After taking a shower we went off, during the way she expressed her doubts people will like it.

I just told her: “Look if no one like it at least I will have something to eat myself” My Mole was not your usual stuff, it was a vegetarian Mole, I have being a Vegetarian for most of my life since I was seventeen, and I was not about to eat turkey, anyway.

Driving For Thanksgiving

It was a gorgeous drive day by the coast, and we got to her cousin’s house and put my Mole on the large table, her cousin was also  somewhat alarmed when se took the lead off, but she just asked what the name of it was.

A few minutes later with most of the people invited already there she, announced everybody to pick up a plate and go and self serve, on a line at the table, I did not rush, and took my place at the line, I could observe everybody passing over my dish, first looking at it with surprise, on their eyes, and bypassing it without touching it.

People serving themselves at the table

When my time came I served myself some mashed potatoes and a big quantity of my Mole on top of it, already figuring I will be the only one eating it.

I went to the patio and sat a table and the husband of her cousin sat in front of me, with his plate, and immediately he noticed the Mole on my plate and he hesitantly asked me:

“What’s that you are eating?”


He got curious and said to me: “Pardon me, I am curious, will you mind if I have a little taste of your plate?

Pushing the plate in front of him I said; Sure help yourself to it”

He did, took a forkful, and not three seconds after he put it on his mouth, without saying a word he jumped suddenly off the table with his own plate, and took off almost running into the kitchen.

Eating at the garden

My first thought was he didn’t like it, and went to spit it out from his mouth, away from me, not to offend me. Looking at the tables couldn’t see any of my Mole at anyone’s plate.

To my surprise the husband whose name I can’t recall, a dentist, returned a couple of minutes later with a new big plate with my Mole almost overflowing from his plate!

A Mole Plate

As soon as he sat and started eating it, he would stop chewing for a moment, raving  loud enough for some people to hear him clearly, about how delicious it was!

Soon, one, by one of the people on our table got up with their plates, and shy at first, put just a little bit on their plates, but after taking a couple of bites, they will rise again and run into the kitchen coming back with full plates loaded with Mole. I guess word got around, and almost everybody from the about twenty-five people at the gathering, went back to the kitchen to get some of it.

I took a breath of relief, and people wanted to know who cooked that dish, and what was the name of it, and congratulated me.

I finished my plate, and went into the kitchen to find my girlfriend’s cousin, and a friend of her, both taking turns at licking the gravy sauce with their  fingers, of the already empty big pot.

My girlfriend was behind me, and saw them in disbelief, there was plenty of turkey, and all other dishes at the big table but my Mole was all gone!

As her cousin finished polishing my pot, with her fingers over the sink, and licking the last vestiges of the gravy from it.


Turning to my surprised girlfriend, I mockingly said:

“No one will even eat it, right?”

Her cousin, or the other woman said: “Are you kidding? If I would not worry about getting it all over my head I will stick my face into the pot, and lick it!”

On our way back home she fumed: “And the worst part of it, I still do not know how Mole tastes, promise me you will cook it again for me, you could have saved some for me!”

“You wasted  your chance today dear, maybe if I am in the mood for Mole on Christmas, I will cook some. ”

I laughed.

I guess, that was one of my small contributions, to the  broadening for cultural foreign food appreciation, in our country.

By the Coast

About theburningheart

This entry was posted in Cooking, Hardship, Heart, Memories, Personal Story, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. leggypeggy says:

    A wonderful Thanksgiving story. Now I’m hungry for mole. Maybe you could share your recipe. HInt, hint.

    • theburningheart says:

      I got to be honest with you, making Mole from scratch can be mind-blowing, and one hell of a task, too much ingredients, and too much work, today in Mexico and the USA most people, go to a well stocked Mexican market, and buy the already made Mole paste needed, the one I show in one of the pictures at a market, basically you go there and pick one you like, I usually doctor them to my taste after.
      Mole recipes are very varied, you could say every family has one, to give you an idea, if you wish watch this video in English with Mark Wiens I upload here:

      Check it out.
      Thank you Peggy, good luck with your Mole! 🙂

      • leggypeggy says:

        Many thanks. I have made mole before, but not for many years. You’ve inspired me.

      • theburningheart says:

        Good for you, is time for you to do it again, I live alone, and think it’s too laborious to cook it for myself, but here where I live, there’s a few places I can go and eat it, they do it in a veggie fashion at my request, not as good as mine, but decent. 🙂

  2. ptero9 says:

    Yes, a wonderful story! I love mole, but must confess that I didn’t like the looks of it the first time I saw it.

    Thanks for the reminder and the inspiration!

    • theburningheart says:

      Yes, I sort of realized after cooking it, that for most people, at the time in America, it will be unfamiliar, and shocking, to their eyes, but in reality if you think about, it’s just a chocolate sauce named in Latin Theobroma: “God’s food”
      So how can it be bad?
      But I have to confess, that conscious at the time by the lack of familiarity with spicy hot foods, I deliberately made my Mole less spicy hot, and a tad more sweet, to fit their taste, and it worked wonderfully, once they lost their reluctance to try it, because its dark color.

      Thank you for your comment Debra. 🙂

  3. Good story, and the reason I always try new foods whenever traveling… usually at least twice. And I know some locals who make a great mole.

    I hate to admit it, but it was a relief to have an excuse to stay home this year. And not wanting to risk having to spend the afternoon in the ER having burns treated and fingers stitched back together, my husband insisted on doing the cooking. My only responsibilities were for the coffee, wine), and dessert. And since neither of us particularly like traditional Thanksgiving fare, the house ended up smelling like lobster and other miscellaneous high-cholesterol seafoods.

    Reminds me though, it’s time to refill the water, offer some sake, and light an incense.

    • theburningheart says:

      I guess the traditional food in America, with so many immigrants, its bound to change traditional foods conceptions, so Lobster its perfectly fine, I even know from some Chefs making a Mole sauce for lobster, but calling it Lobster with Chocolate sauce!
      God only knows how that taste, but nothing its sacred in food matters now day, the World a small place, we all live in.

      Thank you for your great comment. 🙂

  4. foodinbooks says:

    Wonderful story! I wish you’d share your recipe for the mole, though. I’ve been wanting to learn to make it for so long now. I have a couple of books that mention it and which would be excellent blog posts but having never made it from scratch, I’m a bit intimidated. Regardless, this was a lovely blog post and has inspired me to try and find the varied ingredients and give mole a whirl. I hope you’re well and safe.

    • I wish you very good luck!:)

    • theburningheart says:

      In all honesty, making mole from scratch it’s like in the old days, a only once in a year affair, like cooking tamales for Christmas and make enough they would last until the New year’s, I remember as a child Grandmother taking near to three days to make them, first she will bring a butcher who will have to kill the pig, and cut it into pieces, then she will render the fat of the pig, to use as lard, they will cook the pig and make chicharrones, and carnitas, and freeze some parts of the pig, then cooking the meat for the tamales, and not until the next day will start making the tamales an affair that will take the whole day, to produce the tamales, all the women of the house will help her, mixing by hand the masa, and even us the children will help with the corn leaves wetting them, and tie a knot unto them.
      Cooking them in large vats with firewood will be the next step, and that also will take time, and effort.
      Well if you see the video of Mark Wiens I uploaded in one of my response, can give you a good idea how complicated used to be, you can even overheard Javier’s mother saying something like:
      “Ay mi hijo porque no nos dijeste ayer, para darnos tiempo de preparar y comprar todo!”
      “Son, you should foreworn us at least the day before to have time, in order to shop for the ingredients, and to prepare everything!”.
      And they end, taking the whole batch to a commercial grinder, meanwhile they took Mark to sightseeing a waterfall named, Hierve el Agua.

      Well, to be honest unless you live in a ranch in Mexico, and have the time, nobody makes mole paste from scratch, you go to a market and buy it there, in my case, I taste several, and choose the most to my liking, and always doctor them in order to enhance the flavors I want to accentuate, and when cooking it, add my own ingredients, that will give it my desired flavory touch, but of course the ingredients I add depend, on what in my opinion the mole paste I bought, it’s lacking.

      Also when cooking for people who are not used to spicy hot, I adjust the recipe, making it less hot, and and a bit sweeter.
      But of course if you want to make mole from scratch, by all means, go ahead, I am sure you are more daring than I am!

      Thank you for your comment! 🙂

      • foodinbooks says:

        We used to make tamales in a big group when I was a little girls so your description definitely brought back memories. I might do the moalet from scratch at least once just so I n say I did it. It’s kind of like climbing mount Everest.

      • theburningheart says:

        You choose the right words to describe it, climbing Mount Everest!

        Good luck, dear! 🙂

      • I am very sorry, but here above is only part of my answer I had sent to you, making you all my compliments for your delicous and successful food you have prepared! I would make it very spicey, if I had the chance!! Very best regards Martina

  5. What a wonderful Thanksgiving story, which really got under my skin and clearly showed how precious it could be to cook/offer some simple indigenous food! I hope that you will give us your detailed recipe! All the very best Martina

    • theburningheart says:

      Well, those days were very different, today people is more aware of foreign food, the World a small place, travel and communication shortening distances, today there’s no country on Earth you cannot be there in a few hours, unlike the time when people migrated to America families would cry, and say farewell, knowing would likely, never see each other again.
      So you find almost anything, and people are less provincial, unlike the time I arrived into the USA and served them Mole on Thanksgiving day! 🙂

      By the way, something I did not talk on the post, it’s the conversation I had with the husband of my girlfriend’s cousin, after the Mole was gone.
      Being a gentleman of some age at the time, from what I know he passed away already some years ago.
      He spoke as how every Thanksgiving for him was sort of an old routine, and how dry, and not juicy was the Turkey, that year, and what a refreshing change was to eat something so new, and as flavorful as my Mole to his palate.
      I guess not few of the guest felt that way also.

      Thank you Martina, for your gracious comment. 🙂

      • I am very glad that you are well and showed with your post and answer that indigenous food, maybe more unknown to us than stuff from far away, has become much more precious ! It’s quite some time that we have not gone to supermarkets anymore and just eat season products, such as cabbage, which seem to us so delicious:) One may also get fed up with food one just buys because they are from far away!!
        PS: My mother in law had to leave Poland when she was a young girl and never had the opportunity anymore to go back and see her relatives! Our generation -from my world- has been quite spoiled.
        Stay healthy Martina

      • theburningheart says:

        Yes, we are spoiled as by eating Kiwi brought from New Zealand, or you guys eating avocado brought from Mexico, unheard when I was a child.
        Or suffer like your Mother in Law by not be able to travel back to her mother country.

        You too, keep safe!
        Brigido. :

      • We have just harvested our kiwis in our garden,- despite the fact that we are not young chickens anymore- They can be stored for some months:)There is work to do!!
        It is, however, also true – I think- that, if we all behave like this, certain people will be in difficulties!
        Buona notte Martina

  6. Loved reading your wonderful story.

  7. selizabryangmailcom says:

    The thing I got from your lighthearted and amusing story is how stressed out your girlfriend was about EVERYTHING! And she seemingly had little or not faith in your abilities and/or the outcome. That was funny. She was SO wrong.
    My husband and I spent Thanksgiving day preparing and cooking food and it took HOURS and by the end of the day, before we even ate, I was exhausted. This caused me to think about my mother and the holidays and how we sometimes went out but she also cooked a lot and I wonder if she started to feel dread around early November, thinking of what was ahead. I helped her with various processes in the kitchen, but I never cooked a whole meal by myself, and when I look back in hindsight I wish I’d been more ambitious and taken the load completely off her now and again. I brought it up with her once later as an adult and she said, “That wasn’t your job. That was my job.” But even so, I should have cooked some full meals. I sort of really regret that. Ah, well……

    • theburningheart says:

      Well, even scientist argue why women worry more than men, and they come with so many reasons, some just say its a hormonal thing, or an evolutionary treat, the fact is they live longer, may be due to their worrying and taking care of the problems, meanwhile we men have a tendency to procrastinate.
      Of course we are all different, besides to be fair my girlfriend, she had some very good qualities as well, I should have married her, it was dumb from me not to do it.

      This happen quite a few years back, when being a foodie wasn’t as today, joking with a friend of mine I remind him we boast of our culinary taste, but most of us remain on the sidelines as spectators, and buyers of food, I have many friends where their kitchen it’s almost as big as my apartment, and rarely cook a meal, and I know that first hand, since I had cooked in their kitchens, they got every utensil, but almost everything looking like they have not used it at all, and worse many things I had unpacked from their original store box!

      At work I could heard their daily conversations with the wife, or husband about who will pick up the diner to take home, today with the pandemic its even worst, home delivery is the way things are done, and I almost sure the trend will stay that way, the fact is we are too busy working, to really go home and still take on the task of preparing a good meal, like our mothers did.

      And even myself, now retired, I have slowed down on my cooking, rarely cook more than three times a week, I just go and eat out, or bring prepared food home. 🙂

  8. equinoxio21 says:

    Mole is a sure bet… 👍🏻

  9. theburningheart says:

    I guess the hard part for a lot of people are those things unfamiliar to us, as Debra above expressed:

    “I love mole, but must confess that I didn’t like the looks of it the first time I saw it.”

    Thank you! 🙂

  10. macalder02 says:

    A pesar de las circunstancias, espero que hayas disfrutado esta Navidad. Un gran abrazo por este 2021 que está lleno de esperanza con lo de la vacuna.
    Manuel Angel

    • theburningheart says:

      Pues en las circunstancias actuales, en honor a la verdad mi Navidad fue minimalista, afortunadamente un hijo mio, el unico que vive en la misma poblacion que yo, estuvo ayer conmigo y comimos juntos.

      Gracias Manuel Angel y buenos deseos para ti y tu familia. 🙂

  11. What a great story! I kind of felt it would have this nice ending.
    That ca happen at a lot of dinners where you bring your home-cooked meals with you.
    I don’t really know what this dish is, but I will look up Google.
    There must be something great about it!

    • theburningheart says:

      When I first arrived to Los Angeles in the mid eighties, things were pretty drab in the food scene, there was a small trendy movement already going to be open to exotic dishes, brought by the many emigrants that make their home in LA but most people were leery of trying something you had never eat, and worst if it resembled something as Mole, that’s just a simple a spicy chocolate sauce, that you can adapt to your own particular taste, and what its not to like about chocolate?
      Sure it looks dark and unusual for a meal, but once you try it, there’s no mystery, especially if it’s well done. Not everyone has the gift of doing it just the way you may like it, so it’s something that you should try to do on your own, and to trial, and error, come with your own way, just like I did, generally speaking if I eat it at a restaurant, they never do it quite right to my taste, call me picky! 🙂 

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