Getting Fat

I know it's not a good goal to want to get fat, but I will say the process is much more fun than dieting. Now, let me make myself clear, I have no specific desire to BE fat, but I plan on taking advantage of every culinary advantage to living in Peru. Peru is very highly regarded in the culinary world and boasts many advantages over other countries. There are many influences in Peruvian cooking but often immigrants had to adapt other countries recipes due to lack of ingredients. And one of the unique aspects of eating in Peru is the amount of ingredients found here that are uncommon anywhere else. For example they use a wide variety of corn here, including a sweet drink called chicha morada made out of purple corn. But even from just a quick glance, we can tell that what they give to us on a cob is not your typical Iowan ear of corn. 





There are also many fruits here that do not exist in other countries and have not been exported because they are so delicate not only in growing climates but in shelf time as well. One such example is Chirimoya, which Mark Twain called "the most delicious fruit known to men."



One of Peru's most famous contributions to the world is the potato (all potatoes trace their ancestry here to Peru) and there are nearly 4000 varieties. Needless to say, they capitalize on this advantage and we eat it a lot. And they are very specific about what types of potatoes are used for what type of recipes (boy do I miss just choosing between Idaho or red). One dish prepared here is called Papa a la Huancaina, which is a type of boiled potato covered in a kinda spicy cheesy sauce. Another dish we have here often (albeit in a vegetarian version) is Lomo saltado which is basically meat and potato wedges over rice. But it's all very unique and unlike anything I've ever eaten anywhere else.

Now while I take advantage of all the good Peruvian cooking available to me every day at the cafeteria, it's worth mentioning that as an international type of gal, I plan on getting fat from a variety of sources (and I'm not talking about all the muffins and cookies I bake either). Enter food lesson # 32.43. Welcome to the world of Venezuelan arepas. With Jeanfranco cooking for me, I plan to eat a lot of these. To help you understand (and I hope my over simplified description does not offend any Venezuelans), arepas are basically a thick, fried, corn tortilla then cut open and used more or less as bread. You can fill it with meat, cheese, spread, whatever floats your boat. So no dad, not quite like a pupusa, although yes, I'll make you some next time I come home. Sad truth is though that even if I learn to cook a la Peruvian, I'll never be able to recreate it back in the States due to lack of ingredients. I guess that's why you don't see too many Peruvian restaurants around. Although when I move back, I can promise you I'll be finding the few that are around!

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