The Perfect Arepa
White Envelope, the restaurant where I work, has become my second home. There, I feel safe, cared for, after four long years of only depending on myself. White Envelope’s main dish is an arepa.
An arepa is a small, circled and white Venezuelan corn-bread made of salt, water and sugar. The White Envelope chose its name because they did not want to be recognized so easily, they wanted to preserve their food and culture. Just like an envelope, an arepa is open in the middle and filled up with anything you desire; it could be a dog, chicken, beans, even an acorn, then it would be sealed with a big bit of yourself and what you desire. However, making an arepa is not easy; it takes vigilance, patience and practice to make one.
First, you should get the exact amount of water necessary. You do not want a lake of water it’ll make your dough sloppy. Next, you must let the arepa sit for about two minutes in a griddle for it to have a perfect brown crust, just like the coat of a Grizzly bear. Do not over pass the time because instead you will have the coat of a black bear. Lastly, once the arepa has a perfect crust, you put it in the oven for about seven minutes. Once out, you will see a perfect Macedo 2 arepa ready to be sealed. Although, making it took me a lot of time and burns, I was proud of accomplishing an arepa.
My first week at White Envelope was stressful, I had already made mistake after mistake, winning me the nickname of “The Hurricane,” all I touched was broken or messed-up. The biggest mistake was the time I made 10 kilos of chicharron dough, when I only had to make 2 kilos. I wanted the ground to swallow me, I thought this was it I was fired. How foolish was I? My boss’s face was a red tomato, it looked like he was going to explode but surprisingly he did not. Instead, he just said it was okay; there was nothing to worry about, it was a mistake and mistakes happen. He knew this was my first time working in a kitchen, he was not expecting me to be a perfect. But this should be a lesson of learning how to listen, step by step I would learn my stuff. I was in shocked, I never considered this world in having such people with big hearts.
That evening I decided to talk to my mother, I felt the need of telling her sorry for all the crazy things I once did. When I began to say my sorry to my mother, she began to cry like a kid who lost her mother in the super market. She was proud of me learning of my mistakes and told to expect me to make more, but I should be patience, this was just the beginning of my journey and there was more to come I just must wait.
By: Jennifer Macedo