Flower of the air was the name of the Indian princess, daughter Urraca, the fiercest chieftain who fought the Spanish conquistadores (conquerors) in the lands of the Isthmus of Panama. Unfortunately for her, she fell in love with one of the warriors who tried to conquer his people. For that impossible love she despised the one offered by Yaraví, the bravest young man of his tribe. Yaraví in despair, committed suicide by jumping from the top of a mountain in front of Flor del Aire. She, for not betraying their race, never saw the Spanish again. And wandered about over mountains and through valleys crying her misfortune, until overtaken by death, facing the beloved mountains where she was born. The mountains pitied her, and to perpetuate this sad love story, copied his figure, to The Sleeping Indian at Anton Valley at Panama.
Excerption from Presbyter Joseph Noto, History of El Valle de Anton
Now I want to share a recipe that is common in many countries, in Indonesia is call Ketan hitam, in Italy Budino di Riso (john and ambrosiana will correct me if I’m wrong) In the United Kingdom, rice pudding is a traditional dessert and is very popular. In Spain the arroz con leche has lemon peel. But, my dear friends, today’s recipe was taken from a Panamanian cook book, so it is 100% Panama. In fact, it is customary, when someone discovers the first tooth of a baby, to make a batch of rice pudding and share it among family and friends. Go figure!
Ingredients1 cup rice 3 cups water 4 cups milk 1 cinnamon stick Sugar to taste ¼ tsp. salt Cinnamon ½ tsp. vanilla Raisins (optional)
Soak the rice in the water for 1 or 2 hours. Drain and put it in a saucepan with the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and salt. When it starts to boil, low the heat and let it simmer until is creamy. Stir from time to time and don’t let it stick to the bottom of the pot. This will takes about 20 minutes or so.
Remove the cinnamon stick, add vanilla and raisings (optional) and serve in cups with a dash of cinnamon on top.