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Adventists believe that meat-eating is unhealthy. All meals served at Yerba Buena are vegetarian. Often Doña Lilia provides the student nurses and me with extraordinarily savory dishes based on meat substitutes. Commonly used is texturized soy protein, which comes in a 400 gram plastic bag, looking like bread-crumbs. This is produced by Alimentos COLPAC, in the Mexican state of Sonora. With appropriate soaking and additions of onion, garlic, sauce and the like, texturized soy protein can be mixed deliciously with such items as scrambled eggs, vegetable mixtures, fried potatoes and cheeses. Though this plant-based protein comes in beef and chicken flavors, to me their tastes resemble very little what I recall beef and chicken tasting like before I became a vegetarian many years ago. However, it has its own wholesome flavors, which is unique and desirable. In the small store next to Yerba Buena's post office, small cans of "sausages," also made from soybeans, can be bought. Though very tasty, they cost too much for me.

María Bercián
María Bercián

One of the finest dishes I've tried at Yerba Buena is prepared weekly by María Bercián, the Pastor's wife. She calls it carne, which is the Spanish word for meat, though it's made of white wheat-flour. To make the basic "meat" all that is needed is a good quantity of wheat flour -- not whole-wheat flour -- just regular, white, processed, off-the- market-shelf wheat flour, and a little salt.

Much of meat-making is "having a feeling" for when things are ready. Probably a person needs to make meat two or three times before developing adequate "feeling" that will permit good meat to be made every time. Today Doña María invites me to help make meat, and here's what we do:

And that's it! And it tastes wonderful!

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