Chapter 3… The Chinandegan magpies
Encounters Miraflores Reserve, Esteli, Nicaragua
Grandfather´s mother, doña Leonor, was the owner of an established and rather highly regarded restaurant in the nearby port-city of Corinto. She was a happy and carefree soul, maybe leaning a little towards the plump and a bit portly side; most probably caused by the long hours she spent in the kitchen, during the weekends, cultivating those heavenly culinary arts of hers.
To the north of León and in the south of Honduras, she was particularly acclaimed for the huge and delicious servings of Gallo pinto. She heaped it onto the huge dishes she served, abundantly sprinkling them with delicately seasoned shrimp and fresh shredded fish (the preponderant Nicaraguan dish, prepared with white rice and red beans).
The Díaz farms (belonging to don Leobardo and his four brothers) were located at the foot of a mountain range called Los Marabios. There stood Nicaragua’s four tallest volcanoes. The San Cristóbal volcano, for instance, is considered the tallest volcano in the country. Another of the volcanoes, the Cosigüina, is well known for the most violent and dramatic volcanic eruptions, in the history of the continent, during the mid-XIX century.
Due to the acidity of the soil, so characteristic of these volcanic lands, the sugar-cane and delicious peanut crops tended to grow in a plentiful and most abundant way, with bountiful harvesting all year round. Needless to say, these plantations were excessively lucrative and decidedly successful; consequently, the Díaz family was considered one of wealthiest families of northern Nicaragua.