Sometimes, it’s just not fair – how can something that cannot be described any other way other than a labour of love, painstakingly formed by hand and each one individually crafted with tremendous skill, be inhaled by its consumers in a matter of seconds. Well, actually, I would say, it is quite fair, as pupusas, the quintessential El Salvadorian snack, are one of the most delicious combination of ingredients ever created: corn flour and water supply the recipe for the masa (or flatbread) – special maseca corn flour and water, married to either a filling of pork meat, refried beans, three types of cheeses – a hard cheese, cream cheese and feta – creating plump ball, which is then flattened in such a way as to embed the filling into the masa. Thereafter, the pupusa is grilled on a griddle or flat top (we used a crepe pan) for several minutes, and as mentioned above, inhaled by its lucky recipient.
I am fortunate to have a friend from El Salvador, who is a maestra of the pupusa for someone as young as she is, because you must understand, the art of making pupusas is really best viewed among the grandmother generation – whilst gossiping about the latest goings-on, laughing about their husbands, or lamenting the fortunes of their acquaintances, they form these little bundles of joy in a matter of seconds. Please do not think that they even look down to see what their hands are doing for a split second! Marta is clearly ahead of her time with a quick flick of the wrist and a serious expression of determination, so it was quite an honor to have her in my kitchen, making pupusas. I figured, as long as I could appreciate the art of the pupusa, as well as provide comic relief while the real expert was working tirelessly, I was permitted to eat them at marathon speed. By the looks I gleaned from Marta, I am not so sure. Buen Provecho!