Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chicharones for Jesus

Last evening there was a knock at the door. I was busy cooking so Carolyn answered it. As so often happens in our neighborhood it was a person soliciting, starting off in rapid fire Spanish.

(When I answer the door, the person never starts off in Spanish because I absolutely don’t look Hispanic but Carolyn, although light skinned, is unmistakably Hispanic.) After a couple of seconds the person paused—probably because Carolyn had a look of absolute non-comprehension. “Oh, you don’t speak Spanish,” she asked?

And of course Carolyn said no.

I overheard the rest of the conversation pretty well. The young lady identified herself as being with a church group raising money for homeless people in our community and, would we like to make a contribution.

Before Carolyn could say no, the young lady was able to add, “And, we’re selling chicarones. The money goes to the fund.”

“How much,” Carolyn asked.

“Only a dollar,” was the reply.

I sounded off from the kitchen that my wallet was sitting on the table right next to the door. It only had 2 bills in it—a single and a twenty. Carolyn handed over the single and came back with a bag with a couple of sizeable sheets of chicharones—each about 6x10 inches. Now in our neighborhood, it’s fun to stop in at the local bodego, Los Hermanos Reyes for some of their delicacies. I’ve seen sheets of chicarones in there that were a couple of feet square.

We’re reasonably religious but we tend to not donate when people are at the door seeking church donations probably because it happens 2 or 3 times a week. And while we like chicharones along with tamales, fresh vegetables and other things that people knock on our door regularly to sell, we typically don’t “bite”. But, this was chicarones for Jesus. That’s a good deal. Because there’s nothing tastier than fresh chicarones.

So, later on after dinner, we decide to pull out the chicharones. They’re crispy and light and taste vaguely of corn. I sampled them again. Same result. I looked closer. They were a uniform thickness and had marks on them like they were extruded. Hmmmm, these are fake chicharones. Real chicharones taste like pork, because they ARE pork—porkskin. These had just a real light oil taste like they were baked.

We got fake chicharones for Jesus. We got hosed. I hope that young lady really was from a church group and that the money went to their cause.

But the next time someone tries to sell us chicharones for Jesus, I want to see the chicharones first.

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