So here's the scoop on Wacataya Wednesdays! It all started when a website visitor wrote in to let us know he and his wife had tried one of the salteña recipes posted on our site and it was a disaster!!!
Yayo was really upset! Yayo: "Arg! There must be a Secret Salteña Society or something!" Bobby: "Where did she go wrong besides marrying me?" O.M.G!
Bella wrote them back to let them know that salteñas are really rather hard to make and may take some practice! She also offered some tips of her own, and a little comfort by sharing that her first salteñas were pretty disastrous too. That was back in August of 2009.
We wondered if we'd hear back from Yayo and Bobby. Months went by! Then in November someone else wrote in and offered an option: "Order from Noly's Salteñas in Chicago" and Bobby wrote back "thanks for the good advice." Guess it took him a while to calm down. (Hugs to Bobby and Yayo who have been awesome sports about the whole thing!
And that's how we found out about Chef Noly!
Bella, being the proactive webmaster that she is, contacted Chef Noly right away and got the ball rolling! After all, how better to solve this problem than to go straight to the experts, right?
Meanwhile, others got involved in the discussion, and even tried the recipe themselves. CanadianoBoliviano even posted a great picture!
This inspired Bobby and Yayo to give salteñas another try and by George! This they nailed it!
(Noly has since awarded Bobby and Yayo AND CanadianoBoliviano blue ribbons for their efforts! Wow, what an honor! It was a lot of fun!)
Four months and innumerable emails and discussions and planning sessions later, Bella and Noly had become great friends and Noly, being the awesome Chef of World Cuisine that she is, generously agreed to teach us all about how to cook all kinds of traditional Bolivian foods, describe Bolivian ingredients, share some of her favorite Bolivian recipes, and explain about how food and culture are intertwined in Bolivia.
Amazingly, Yayo and Bobby (who are the whole reason Wacataya Wednesdays got started) surprise-visited us in Santa Cruz, Bolivia in March 2010!! Just in time for our launch of WACATAYA WEDNESDAYS!
So of course we celebrated by... what else ... going out for salteñas! Stunning.
And that, dear friends, is how you turn lemons into lemonade! Or in this case, it's how you turn a disastrous lump of goopey salteña dough and runny sauce into a mega collection of Bolivia's best recipes and awesome personal Bolivian cooking lessons from Bolivia and Chicago's best! You're welcome!