SANCOCHO In devoting this essay to sancocho, we continue our tradition of annual book round-ups spiced with Caribbean culinary lore. Having already served up pepperpot and rundown from the Anglophone islands, migan from Martinique and Guadeloupe, and callaloo from all of the above, the time seemed ripe to turn to the Hispanic Caribbean. And as our list of books has expanded (from the forty to fifty of previous years to nearly one hundred in this installment), a dish with as many ingredients as
... any ingredients as sancocho seemed particularly appropriate. According to Manuel Vargas, who generously shared with us his ample knowledge of sancocho in the Dominican Republic, the ideal is to include seven meats (pork, beef, goat, chicken, turkey, duck, and pigeon) as well as "many spices and as many roots and vegetables as possible." Ligia Espinal de Hoetink's more detailed recipe, also from the Dominican Republic, includes longaniza sausage, chicken, pork chops, salt pork, and goat meat, as well as pumpkin, plantains, corn-on-the-cob, four root crops, vinegar, and a variety of herbs, vegetables, and broths. Our Man in San Juan, Antonio Dfaz-Royo, provided a number of Puerto Rican recipes from both literary and domestic sources, even treading in the perilous waters of mother-daughter rivalry by eliciting versions from his wife, Cruz Nazario, and her mother, Dofla Sol (whose reaction to her daughter's recipe, presented anonymously by her diplomatic son-in-law, was to dismiss it as mere sopón). Despite variation on some of the details (notably celery, chickpeas, and sofrito), they both confïrmed the general heart of the dishseveral different meats and root crops, plus plantains, pumpkin, and corn-on-the-cob. There are also regional differences; Vargas reports that in the Dominican Republic, for example, wheat-flour dumplings are used in the east but pigeon peas are more common in the north and southwest.