Friday, June 29, 2007

Cooking Lessons

Today I received my cooking lessons. I know some of you are curious about the food in Peru, and the truth is, I think it’s great. My host mom makes great food, as does my grandma who lives just up the street. So some people have asked for recipes and here is the first one I have learned to cook.

Estofado de Pollo (Chicken stew)

Over high heat:
Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and
One small onion chopped into small pieces to oil
Cut a carrot into half round slices
Cut chicken into pieces
Add 1 teaspoon of salt
Add a spice called “panca sin picante” - also known as ahi Colorado
(Some kind of red spice that I don’t know the direct translation for)
Add chicken (Loly throws it in with bone and all – I think American pallets would prefer sin hueso – without bone)
Add carrot and a cup of peas
Peel, slice, six small potatoes
½ cup water
Add corn
Add potatoes (reduce heat)
Add another cup of water and 1 chicken bullion cube
Let cook for awhile
And then add cilantro

It’s really tasty. Here are some pictures. Notice the chicken’s feet. My little sister likes that part the best. I avoid that part the most. Loly usually puts this over rice.
The first dish in any Peruvian meal is usually rice and much to my US mother’s dismay (I’m sure) they usually have potatoes and corn as well. I try to keep my portion size low in order to not gain weight. In fact, I’m losing it. Which is rare, but I am thankful for the loss as grad school added about 10 pounds I definitely didn’t need. I’m starting to fit into my clothes again!

Last night we went to the celebration of our Pueblo’s Patron Saint. It was pretty tame. Most of our Peace Corps crew showed up. And I danced the night away. My “uncle” has returned from Argentina to find work and I’m starting to get to know his friends better. They’ve all known each other since they were kids. We danced and had fun. We also watched this crazy bull (that’s really what it is called) dance around with flames shooting out of it. Okay, okay it was a paper mache bull with firecrackers shooting off of it, but you definitely couldn’t get a permit for it in the United States.

Other than language (which I sometimes feel like I’m actually managing to progress) my other frustration includes not knowing my fellow volunteers very well. But luckily I’ve had some great conversations with some of the people who live in my pueblo. This is a double edged sword as living so close to so many Americans (and having so many projects to do for Peace Corps) has prevented me from speaking Spanish full-time. Actually that might be my only complaint about my training thus far, too much English. But I do feel like my Spanish is coming along. We have more language tests this next week to see if we’ve improved and to possibly create new language groups. I had my evaluation yesterday and it went well, but I wish I could show more growth than I am. My instructor agrees. She feels like I could be making bigger strides. I don’t really know how to do that, but I guess I’ll keep working on it. I have a new study partner. Plus, I’m making friends with some of the advanced speakers and they are reassuring me that I’m on track in the long process of learning a second language.


Rebekah said...

Yummy; we'll have to try it. Has Ryan ever told you about the chicken feet in Mexico? Perhaps he will...though he's supposed to be working right now, so I can't distract him to tell him to do so.

Eryann said...

Chicken feet-I'd stay away from them too. However, I do remember as a child playing with chicken feet-pulling the tendons to make the foot close. Aw the things I did as a kid on a small farm.

We miss you!

Mardy said...

Hey sis,
Looks great. . .wish I had some chicken feet to throw in my next stew!

Glad to hear that the espanol is coming along. I know it's going to click soon. By the way, I like when you include Spanish words in your posts; makes me feel like I'm learning something.

Miss ya and love ya.

carolyn said...

hey kiddo,hope this comes through to you..we miss you lots..maybe dot can make the chicken stew..keep sending info on how you are ya dot and carolyn