During my first few months in the Dominican Republic, I lived with a host family. They were very nice people and I got along great with them for the most part. But my host mom, Doña Nicia, never thought I ate enough – she was always trying to get me to eat more. The trouble was that, after a while, I had gotten really tired of eating rice and beans all the time. It was always the same thing every day: rice and beans, stewed meat, mashed plantains, and a big mug of fresh milk in the morning and in the evening – the milk part sounds really nice until you find yourself actually having to peel your milk twice a day (I never thought I’d appreciate the word “homogenized” so much).
One day, Doña Nicia’s daughter-in-law, Moraima, made a great big pot of a rice dish called chofán and brought a bowl over for me. It was basically fried rice with a mix of vegetables and some chicken – and I completely devoured it. Seeing this, my host mom was like, “Aha! She likes chofán!” So the very next day at lunch, Doña Nicia proudly set before me a big, heaping bowl of “chofán”; except, instead of rice and a mix of different vegetables, this was rice with a mix of different meats: chicken, pork, goat, and – I swear to you this is true – hot dogs, all chopped up into little pieces. I knew she was so excited to make it for me, so I ate as much of it as I could stomach. But to be honest, I felt a lot like I imagine Peter did in our reading from Acts. In Peter’s case, he has a vision of some kind of bizarre picnic descending down out of the clouds – and a voice tells him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!” and Peter takes one look at that picnic and is just like, “Uhhh… pass.”