Monday, April 12, 2010
tijuana dump breakfast
I just got back from a week of chaperoning a high school youth mission trip to La Mision, Mexico. I'm exhausted...I feel like I need another Spring Break just to recuperate from the one I just took! We ended the week with two trips to the emergency room, at least 7 feverish colds, two dog bites, numerous smashed fingers, and countless bruises. It was quite the adventure!
La Mision is a village south of Tijuana along the coast. We had some great ocean views on the drive from Tijuana to La Mision...
The village of La Mision is quite small. It was apparently the site of one of the many Spanish missions after the Spanish conquest. The area gets a lot of American tourists (I'm assuming because of its proximity to the ocean), but the town itself seems very quiet.
The focus of our trip was the Door of Faith orphanage. It's one of the largest orphanages in the area, with over 100 children. The place was incredible in the amount of attention and opportunities they provide to each child. We spent a lot of time playing with the kids (who loved to laugh at my lack of Spanish-speaking skills) and working on projects around the orphanage. We also worked on construction for two homes in the village, distributed food to several worthy families, and celebrated Easter on the top of a mountain at sunrise.
My team of students was fortunate enough to also get the opportunity to serve children in Tijuana. We went to a large dump that has been transformed into a housing district. Unfortunately, there really wasn't any clean-up involved in that transformation. Instead, about 2 feet of dirt was dumped on top of the trash to prepare it for homes. As a result, the place is unsanitary, quite smelly (especially when it's hot outside), and not really suitable for living. Despite this, numerous families live here.
We went to support a church that was built on the dump in order to minister to the needs of these families. This church graciously provides the children of the dump a free breakfast every morning, and we were fortunate to be able to help them.
Being the person that I am, I immediately volunteered to cook along with Matt, one of the high school students on the trip. Please ignore the fact that I am a walking Big 12 contradiction with my hat and sweatshirt combo. Please also pay no attention to the fact that I hadn't showered in three days. This was not a glamorous trip by any means...
I was at the stove...with a camera...cooking... You know what that means. I took pictures! So, ladies and gentlemen, here is what I have affectionately termed Tijuana dump breakfast (partly because we were at the dump and partly because you simply dump the ingredients in the skillet, no measuring required).
First, we cut fresh corn tortillas into small wedges. These are not my hands...
Then, dump a large amount of oil into a hot skillet (gotta give those growing kids some calories)...
...and then dump in the corn tortillas!
The goal here is to brown the tortillas without burning them, so they are just the right amount of crispy. You don't want to stir them around too much, though, or they will turn mushy. I found it best to let them sit in the oil for a minute and then flip them over. I did this several times until they looked nice and cooked.
Then, we poured in some salt and several beaten eggs and let these cook up, stirring occasionally.
Here's what it looked like when the eggs were done cooking...
Am I crazy for thinking this looks good? Because it looked fantastic to me. Maybe that's because I had been up since 4:45am that morning...or maybe because my breakfasts had consisted of rice...I don't know. But I was drooling over this meal.
We fixed up plates of this egg and tortilla mixture along with beans for the kids' breakfast. I don't think they would think I was crazy...they all kept coming back for seconds and thirds.
When we ran out of the tortillas, we made another amazing variation - eggs and hot dogs! I could hardly contain myself...
So here's what I'm thinking. I wasn't crazy. This meal looks fantabulous. I am planning on making it at home with the following changes: 1) less oil (unlike those children, I am not in need of extra calories), 2) added papas (potatoes), 3) more seasonings (like ground pepper), and 4) tortillas and hot dogs in the same dish.
It's amazing what you can discover at a dump.