Sunday, April 5, 2009
In Costa Rica diario most often means the staple goods (mostly groceries) that one buys to sustain the family. The diario in Costa Rica consists mainly of rice and beans, and whatever fat the family uses to fry its food. (Some families use vegetable oil, but many still use the highly saturated palm fat called manteca.) These foods are often accompanied by cabbage, tomatoes, meat, and cans of tuna. In rural areas, fruits--as well as certain vegetables like yuca, chayote, corn, and elote--are often gathered/harvested locally for consumption.
The ideas of the canasta básica--which is the basic basket of consumer goods that helps track consumer prices and quantify poverty levels--and the diario are quite closely related. In fact, you could say that the canasta básica seeks to reflect the diario of the average middle- or lower-middle-class Costa Rican family. However, these terms are by no means interchangeable. Canasta básica is an economic (and often political) term employed by those concerned with macroeconomic issues as they relate to poverty. Diario, on the other hand, is what people use in their everyday lives in reference to their essential periodic purchases.