Anna Gregg, a Mary Knoll layminister with a UC-Davis degree in Nutrition decided after a Peruvian Peace Corps experience that she wanted to come to Central America and work on a nutritional program to improve the local high carbohydrate but low protein diet. Soy beans would be the answer (42% protein) except for a couple of obstacles. The main problem was growing soy beans. The soil is not fertile in Nitrogen and it would take a while to amend the soil. So meanwhile the soy bean had to be imported and neither the transportation nor import taxes are cheap. The process was created of soaking, milling and boiling the bean and then separating by cheese cloth. The 48 hour shelf life is also an issue. The soy curd on top (ie a curd consistency) could be frozen and used in cooking.
In fact we had a spinach soy burger for lunch and I polished mine off. Recipes were collected and the education programs began. 75% of the brain is developed by the time a toddler turns two so protein is super important. Soy milk in itself isn’t very appetizing so chemists were brought in to create both a salty and sweet soy milk version. Families join the co-op and receive soy milk servings for their families.
Soy Sorghum cookies, Soy cafe, Soy Horchata mix have been developed but not in the supermarkets as of yet. Quantity still remains a deterrent in going public and word of mouth provides their sales. It’s a wonderful protein but until El Salvador can supply their own beans, they will have to be co-dependent and at the will of the importers.
Never let it be said that our group has ever missed a shopping op we left with soy products and also stopped at a local artesania. We have tried to help the economy whenever we can. 🙂