Monday, December 21, 2009


For the past week I’ve been having the exact same thing for breakfast everyday. When I like something, I’m happy to have it everyday and that’s usually what I do, until the weather changes. It’s what I’ve been having for breakfast that surprised me.

I talk to my parents on Sunday mornings. Last Sunday when I was sick and with no voice my mom was upset. “Ay, mamita!” I wish I could be there to make you some changua, she said, expressing her desire to nurse me back to health from 2,000 miles away.

“Changua?” I replied in surprise.
“Si, mamita. Changua” she said. It’s good for you when you’re sick like that. Your brother didn’t like it, but you always loved it when you were sick, she continued.

Changua is a breakfast soup made with milk and eggs. I’m very particular about how I like my eggs. And those of you who’ve been following for a while know I have my issues with milk. How could I like this? My mom had to be confused. I did not like changua. It must have been my brother who liked it.

But my mom recently proved me wrong regarding my memories of a certain childhood incident involving a wonder woman costume and a missing pair of front teeth (she produced photographic evidence which I will not share). Maybe she was right about changua too, so instead of arguing I told her I’d make myself some.

Quick keystroke action gave me a recipe. I had all the ingredients or suitable substitutes in the fridge. Since something savory and warm did sound nice I thought I’d give it a try. I sautéed a small shallot. When it was translucent I added a cup and a half of a milk and water mixture. Salt. Once it was boiling I added an egg, lowered the flame, and let it cook for a couple of minutes until the yolk was fully solid. I poured it into a bowl over crumbled feta and topped with chopped cilantro.

I was prepared to toss this if I didn’t like it. It hadn’t taken long to make and I could always serve myself a bowl of cereal and yogurt if this didn’t work, I thought as I sat down to have the first spoonful.

There was no need. First sip. The taste, familiar but forgotten, took me back to my parents’ kitchen. Second sip soothed my throat and warmed me up. The changua went down easily that day, the day after, the day after that, and the rest of the week. I even had to make a special trip to the co-op for more milk and cilantro. And now I’m much better.

Thanks, mom!


  1. I sat next a man from Columbia the whole flight to Australia Majo & we talked Arepas & then I described this to him but couldn't remember the name! He may be from your area! He said he was from a place which started with B, a small town, and he went to school with Shakira. He was lovely and handsome and lives in Manhattan, we should all go out for drinks when we're back.

  2. That would be Barranquilla, my hometown. He can't have gone to school with Shakira, though. Hers was an all girls school if I remember correctly.

    We'll just have to sort that discrepancy over drinks with you when you get back.