My dear friend Catherine has a dear nanny named Leticia, but we all just call her nanny. I’ve known nanny as long as I’ve known Catherine, which is going on 5 years now and that is precisely how long it’s taken to get her posole recipe. 5 years.
Let me back up a bit here.
I’ve been having bowls of this soothing, spicy, warm on the soul soup for years now on Catherine’s pristine golden granite countertops, small glass of extra chilled sauvignon blanc nearby. I’d always gush over its perfection and casually mention ‘hey I’d love this recipe sometime’, and was always answered with ‘oh nanny doesn’t really have a recipe.’ Ok. Well, she may not open a book and read from a recipe each time she makes it but she knows how to make it, she can write it down (in Spanish), Catherine could translate, and we’d be all set. There, it’s a recipe.
It didn’t work.
I waited and patiently would bring it up again. ‘I’d love that posole recipe sometime….’ ‘Nanny says it’s too hard to make.’ Come on, do they want me to beg?
Then one day nanny came by my home on a hazy summer day to pick up the boys, who seemed to be extra sweaty and muddy like boys always seem to be at my home. We sat on a blanket on the grass in the shade and drank ice water out of mason jars next to my chubby, non mobile B. We had much to say but didn’t exactly know how to understand each other. Finally I complimented her ‘posole’ and nanny couldn’t keep quiet. She rambled off words and used hand motions like I had never seen. Once in awhile I’d catch a word I knew – chicken! lime! – but then they would fade into the beautiful accent of Spanish words spilling out of her mouth. At one point I asked Catherine’s son William, who speaks Spanish, to translate for me. He looked at me like ‘you actually think I’m going to stop digging mulch by the swing set to come over and translate a recipe for you? No way.’
So like the sun lazily fading over the trees in our backyard, the moment had passed, and I seriously regretted not taking Spanish during my school years. Over the next months and years, I’d get a bowl here and there and be ever so thankful but just wonder why I couldn’t have the recipe. As Catherine so perfectly summed it up, ‘you think we were asking her for her first born.’ Yes. Exactly that.
Finally, I pulled the last card I had. It was Christmas time – the season of giving! A wonderful time to ask for the recipe. I told Catherine I wanted nothing else, gave her a kickass gift I picked out at a vintage market in August, and waited patiently.
Nope, no recipe. What the heck…? My (slightly evil) plan didn’t work.
2014 then arrived. The year of dust, germs, and of course, the winter of death as L has so perfectly labeled it. After many rounds of bugs and colds I made one last attempt to Catherine this past Saturday when I had yet another head cold. Please, please, please for the love of God. That soup will clear my sinuses. It will heal me. Get me that damn recipe.
Bam. Something hit home with my friend. It was probably my utter patheticness. She went to work and called me around 10:15 with part 1 – a list of ingredients. Part 2, directions, would be coming at a later time. Apparently it’s just too much to handle all at once.
Well, that all changed around 11:00 when B got hurt pretty bad. I texted Catherine what had happened and that we would be at the ER. Like the wonderful friend she is she cried with me, offered her over the top support, and texted me the sweetest thing to date:
She’s kind of amazing like that. And because Catherine is always true to her word, Sunday she showed up at my doorstep with a massive batch of homemade posole and the promise of the handwritten recipe in Spanish and English within a few days. She paid nanny for all the ingredients and paid her hourly to make it (which nanny is declaring takes 4 hours from start to finish.) Merry Christmas to me…!
Catherine, you are a wonderful friend and nanny? I feel like I owe you my next child.
Nanny has requested that I don’t share her family recipe on the internet and as you can tell, she calls the shots. I totally respect that. I realize this is a bit of a tease and I’m sorry but I’ve been so moved by this recipe I had to write its story. My trade off? If you’re local and dying to find out what all the fuss is about, I am happy to make a (big) bowl for you. Promise.