Today I ate lunch with a colleague in the cafeteria on campus. Yesterday, my hosts gave me a very nice square lunch bag (it’s like a small bookbag/knapsack for food), so I decided that I would use it today. I went to the grocery store yesterday (I go to the “Pueblo Supermercado” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueblo_Supermarkets) and picked up some essentials to make sandwiches and other small meals. I usually eat sandwiches with chips for lunches that I pack, but I could barely find any chips in the stores, instead I found lots and lots (and lots!) of crackers … they’re called “galletas de soda” which is kind of like saying a soda cracker cookie. They’re basically like Keebler’s Club crackers … sweeter than Saltines, but not as sweet as a Ritz. Rovira Export Sodas is a popular brand (see photo.)
My colleague offered to bring lunch back to the office, but I said that I made a promise to myself that I would not eat lunch in the office this month! So we went to the cafe and she got a ham & cheese sandwich (jamon y queso) and I happily pulled out my little homemade sandwich with lettuce (lechuga), cheese (queso), and tomato (tomate). As I pulled out the crackers to eat with my sandwich, I was telling her the story about all of the crackers in the grocery store … all the while, I am so proud that I am eating crackers and not chips with my sandwich! She then nicely informs me that people in Puerto Rico generally eat a sandwich alone and not with crackers or chips. “Crackers are eaten with coffee or soup, and chips are for parties,” she says. She lets me know that sandwiches don’t need the crackers because they already have the bread. I then slowwwwwly put the remaining crackers back inside of my lunchbag … and she laughed, letting me know that she wasn’t trying to change my eating habits. But I carefully noted that she was very svelte, so there must be something to the no crackers/chips with sandwiches thing. I’ll know for next time!