When I was a little girl in Cajun Louisiana, my mother and aunt often chatted over French roast coffee in the afternoon. I remember my aunt’s polished red nails, as well as the occasional cigarette. It was the 1960s. Many women stayed home to raise children. Smoking was not taboo.
Forty-five years later, the smell of hot coffee or nicotine smoke often brings me back to those days. Today, Starbucks and McCafe deliver caffeine through drive-through windows. We connect through texts and social media more than face-to-face encounters.
In Honduras, at least in the capital, the coffee break is still honored. At three o’clock, capitalanos* in Tegucigalpa stop working. Men step into sidewalk cafes and relax with associates over a cup. Women visit a relative or a neighbor, often serving crisp, unsweetened bread called rosquillos alongside thick, sweet cups of coffee.
Even though Honduras is heavily influenced by the mores of the United States, I hope this custom doesn’t change. The impromptu caffeine klatch builds a sense of community. In a country where institutions are failing, and gangs are quickly filling the void, the locals need soothing rituals more than ever before.
This week, the folks at Velvet Ashes are discussing community. Velvet Ashes is a gathering place online mainly for expat women. Come back later this week to join in the discussion here or at their site, with your comments or blog posts of your own. And bring some rosquillos, please.
Do you have memories of coffee breaks? Or do you honor the tradition in your locale? Is the after-drink cocktail somewhat the same? Let’s start a conversation.