At lunch today, by unanimous vote, we declared Mary an excellent cook. I suggested we give her a prize–to cook every day! What did we have? Trout cooked in the oven, steamed potatoes, and cut up tomatoes. I made myself a sauce of mayonnaise, hot peppers, and onions. Hot and delicious!
With Mary’s help I’m now going to give a presentation of the different foods of the area that some ladies exhibited at my dad’s birthday celebration. Thanks to my friend Vicky I have quite a few photos.
The judges were Paola and Mayu from Lima, and my brother Pepe (Dr. Per Roland Anderas) from the United States. They judged the Presentation, as 40% (color, texture, and serving on the plate); the Taste, as 40% (if attractive, different, and how typical); and the Nutritional Value, as 20% (variety and garnish).
We will now see some of the exhibits of 18 mothers from the feedings stations. There were three categories: starter, main course, and dessert. There were no prizes given, just the mention of the winners. Mary says they do this each year and they also have exhibits of crafts. I’ll give the name in Spanish and try to explain a little about each dish.
This lady won first place with chuño pasi. Chuño is processed potatoes. During 30 days you keep the potatoes under running water, and then the potatoes are left on the ground high up on the altitudes where it is cold. After that, the potatoes are dry and you can use them for soups or starter meals.
According to these instructions you fry onions, garlic, and cumin. You add water to it and put in the chuño (dried potatoes). Before serving you add milk and cheese.
This is huancaína de quinua, according to the judges a very creative dish, different and good tasting. This is like the popular dish from this area called papa a la huancaína, but instead of preparing it with crackers you add the quinoa, which is a cereal that the Incas used very much. You serve this with lettuce, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, black olives, and a cheese sauce based on red-hot peppers. Sometimes with spaghetti, as you can see on the picture.
My brother really enjoyed tasting all the dishes the ladies had prepared.
Chaufa de morón was a winner. A different kind of dish prepared by Marcelina Román, with good taste and good texture. Chaufa is inspired from chinese food. It’s rice with green onions, red peppers, scrambled eggs, some kind of meat, and soya. In this dish the rice was exchanged for especially processed barley, called morón.
Caihua rellena is one of my favorite dishes. It’s a vegetable that you fill with a sauce made of ground meat, carrots, onions, tomatoes, raisins, olives, hardboiled eggs, and red peppers. You cook it in the oven or on the stove and eat it with rice.
Lucky my brother that got a taste of this “stuffed caihua”! I have no clue what the name is in English. You could compare it with green peppers but the caihua is thinner and has a different taste.
This is the winner in the category of desserts. It’s a squash pudding called mazamorra de zapallo. Julia Paitán prepared this dish which the judges considered easy to make, nutritional, and with a very good taste. This “squash” is big like pumpkin. I had never heard of a dessert made from it. This evening we are having zapallo soup, creamed. I used to mash zapallo and give my girls when they were babies.
The zapallo is orange-yellow so I don’t understand how it’s turned brown here. Mary tells me it is because of the brown sugar used to prepare it.
The above dishes were picked by the judges as winners. In my book each lady that went to all the trouble of bringing a dish is a winner. Let me show you some of the other dishes.
This is Cuy al maní. It’s a guinea pig dish flavored with peanuts. Guinea pig is very popular here. I have never tasted it, even if I lived in Peru one-third of my life. I think I got it in my head that I don’t like it.
This ladies dish is puchero. It tasted good, but lacked in presentation. “Puchero” means it is a dish mixed with several ingredients, like here it is potatoes, peas, cabbage, and pig skin. It is decorated with parsley and red-hot peppers.
Here is another puchero. To me it looks like a rich soup, probably very healthy.
Tacacho is a word I can’t translate but I’ll explain it. It is made with not yet ripe plantains that you cut in half and fry. Then you mash them like potatoes and you mix it with lard and pieces of meat. You serve it with an onion salad. This is sliced onion mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. You get the best result if you wash the onions before adding the dressing.
This dish has to be good because the lady that prepared it is Margarita, the name I use for my Spanish web ministry. The judges liked it very much.
To eat after having the tacacho Margarita suggests the mazamorra de yuca (yuca pudding). You peel the yuca and grate it. Boil water with cinnamon and sugar and add the grated yuca. Cook it for 10-15 minutes stirring it. You serve it with some milk.
It doesn’t look very inviting, but you can make another dish with yuca that is really good. Mash yuca with potatoes and cheese and stick it in the oven like a casserole and you can “lick your fingers,” like they say here. I mean it’s delicious. Yuca is a root that in many places in the jungle is used instead of bread.
Here is another desert for you: mazamorra de maíz, some kind of corn pudding, prepared as they like it in Peru.
Here is a variety. In the back we have purple corn pudding: mazamorra morada. If you haven’t seen it, believe me, it’s purple corn! The dish on the right is mondongo, prepared with the intestines, meat, pealed corn. You have to let it cook overnight. People love it, and it’s economical.
Here is another mondongo, which you serve with parsley, green onions, and red-hot pepper.
How about topping it off with a rice pudding, which here is called arroz con leche. The dish on the right is hualcachupe, a mixture of cabbage, potatoes, and pig skin. You top it off with a red dressing.
These ladies are from the village San Martin where we have a feeding station.
Here is another lady representing San Martin. It’s a story in itself how my parents in the seventies helped the people there get some decent living conditions, clean water, medical help, food–but most of all the transforming message of the Gospel.
The lady in purple is Helena, who many years ago used to work with the children at the feeding stations. This was for sure a reunion of many, many friends from years past.
As with anything we do here on earth, this celebration also came to an end. By 5.00 PM it was time to start cleaning up, returning all the chairs and benches, disassembling of the tents, finding a way to get everything home. What a big job!
Here are the people with the sound system waiting for someone to pick them up. This picture gives you and idea of the view we had over the city. No wonder my dad called it El Mirador, the Lookout.
The dissembling of the tents took some time, and then they had to be returned to two different owners. The place was a mess. All the plates from eating the cake were scattered.
I just found out the children at the feeding stations were ecstatic Monday for lunch. Since we had planned food for 1,000 people we divided the leftovers so the kids could get a taste. They are not used to having grilled steak. All of them also got a piece of cake for dessert.
To read the story of my parents’ missionary life, click here: