Ovens are not very prevalent in Costa Rica which makes baking a bit of a challenge. Cooking is done on stove tops. They have cook tops, small refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, and blenders. We looked at several apartments and shied away from them because they had no ovens and I love to bake. I had lofty goals of baking for our boat workers each week.
All of the apartments at Manuel Antonio Estates have ovens, but they are all a little different. When I asked the two lovely ladies who keep the apartments ship shape how to work the oven, they smiled and said that they don’t bake. They don’t have ovens in their homes. So, why did I need help with the oven, let me explain.
Back in America – most ovens have gauges that have temperatures starting around 200 and going up to 550 in increments of 25 degrees. So, if you need your oven at 325 you have a pretty good idea where to set the gauge. And unlike the rest of the world, everything in the States is in Fahrenheit.
Here, like other parts of the world, everything uses the metric system and reads in Celsius. Conversion is easy enough to figure out with google. But, then you need to figure out how to read the actual settings.
The first apartment we stayed in had 5 settings for the oven. Minimum, 175-200, 200-225, 225-250, and Maximum. It is a wide range when you are trying to figure out 182 Celsius.
Our current apartment is a complete mystery. It has 1, 2, 3, 4 and then a bunch of dots….
Image: Top is American Gauge, middle is one gauge here in CR and the bottom left is my current gauge.
Luckily, I had an oven temperature gauge from the boat and was able to get the oven within 25 degrees of my desired temperature. What a funny experience. Took nearly all day to bake banana muffins and my mini raspberry cheesecakes (click for the recipe).
I think I finally got into the baking groove after a few burnt and under cooked batches…luckily you all won’t be subject to eating these baked goods. That was really hard to admit as those who know me know I am an excellent baker. Maybe not a great cook, but certainly a great baker.
With our good friend Wayne coming, sugar cookies were a must. Managed to bake several dozen without incident. They just came out small and fat rather than larger and flat. Tasted ok, but not my best.
Everything is just a wee bit smaller than back in the States. The fridge will not accommodate a standard pizza box, but it does manage to keep things cold and make ice! Dad modeling our Frigidare.
May be small, but it works…
Our visitors also find it “unusual” or “weird” that when using the bathroom they have to put the toilet paper in the trash can and not the toilet. All of Costa Rica is on the septic system. So, restaurants, hotels, public and private bathrooms are like that. Not a problem for us as we follow the same process on the boat, but our fellow Americans tend to have a hard time.
I will spare you the photo of the trash can 🙂 I wonder how many people will read all this way down on the blog. If you did, send me a funny comment.