In Costa Rica, I lived on lard and coffee. There was lard in the bread, in the rice and in the beans. There was lard in the cookies, in the imitation Doritos I ate at the school where I taught; it was coating the potatoes and being used to fry bananas in the cafeteria. Damaris, the woman I lived with, normally bought only three food items when she went to the supermarket in the city: a sack of rice, a sack of beans, and several sticks of manteca vegetal —vegetable shortening. Everything else we ate came off the farm.
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