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Drink no evil. Eat no evil. Chew no evil.

October 9, 2007

in front of the PUCP cafeteria

l-r Dan, Mike, Me

This picture looks staged as “Drink no evil. Eat no evil. Chew no evil.” The three of us didn’t realize how funny it would turn out because our intention was just to show a typical lunchtime in front of the cafeteria. I tried to get pictures of things we did all over the campus of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. We ate lunch at the cafeteria using vouchers, choosing between several menus. The tables inside the crowded building were always full, so we ate outside, usually on the damp grass. We were able to try many Peruvian foods, but we often couldn’t understand enough Spanish to choose well. For example, several times I ended up with mondongo or cau cau, which is cow intestines, on my plate.

I lost weight while I was in Peru because I didn’t always like the lunch served at the university and my host family didn’t eat supper–just lonche, which is bread with butter and jam served with hot tea. They ate their big meal at lunch while we were at the university and didn’t serve their three hungry American guests anything for supper. We decided not to complain, but we were disappointed, especially since our host family was so well-off and was probably underhandedly making money by hosting us yet not offering us any substantial food. This is ironic since Peru is known worldwide for its delicious food and Peruvians are usually proud to offer guests their best cooking.

At least now I have el Libro de Oro de Mamá, a cookbook that my mother in law gladly sent me to help me learn how to prepare Peruvian food. She wants her son to be well taken care of and well fed.

. . .

  1. Accountable permalink
    October 9, 2007 10:19 pm

    Also the umbrella in the background looks funny, as if it’s only over Mike! Yes, I think if I were in Peru as well, I’d end up losing weight too.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

  2. October 10, 2007 8:58 am

    Oh, you’re right, Accountable. That umbrella does look funny! I hadn’t even looked at that before you pointed it out. My eye goes right to the spaghetti!

  3. rosiemolinary permalink
    October 12, 2007 9:09 am

    The picture is a hoot! I am so intrigued that our lives have had such similar geographic paths: Columbia, Davidson, etc. I think I was even working at Davidson while you were a student. Thanks for reaching out– it is always affirming to know someone appreciates your work, especially since writing can be a pretty solitary life. I look forward to checking out future blogs. Oh, and the other hoot of a picture? Your little boy sleeping in that great position!

  4. October 12, 2007 8:54 pm

    Hey, Rosie! Thanks for your comments. I was a student when you were working at Davidson, you are right. I may have even left the strange legacy of being a white girl (with the heart of a latina) who served as president of OLAS for a semester. LOL! Now I’ve married in, so I appreciate your insight on latina body image because I have some of the same issues due to my husband’s way of thinking and my in-laws’ judgment of me. You have such a gift for reaching out to people and connecting; I hope you can see how much impact you are having. I love your blog for that reason!

  5. October 16, 2007 1:28 pm

    Ah, Peruvian food. On my recent short trip there, our tour package included all meals. Wise in a way, because most of the week we were up in the rare air of Cuzco and the menus were chosen with our health and adjustment to high altitude in mind. I liked the food, but a few of my fellow travelers said it wasn’t “really” Peruvian.

    Whatever. Nobody (and we were mostly a middle-aged and older bunch) got sick and missed any of our expeditions, even up in Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

    Guess I’m just not enough of a foodie to get my shorts in a twist about the menu, since it tasted good and I didn’t go hungry.

    That’s a funny story about your host family probably cutting corners on feeding you. Glad you survived, albeit a little thinner.

  6. October 16, 2007 2:22 pm

    My host family deserves their own post, but I’ll have to be careful about defamation of character. 🙄 I’m not a food-snob, but I would have liked to have been fed. Anything. At all.

  7. You, madam, are no Sei Shonagon permalink
    January 8, 2008 6:43 pm

    Hey is that Peruvian cookbook like the one that my mother-in-law gave me (“Cocida Tradicional Boliviana”), written assuming that the readers have lived in Bolivia forever (as opposed to two short trips) and have watched mommy (or the maid) make these recipes? You know, with super helpful measurements for ingredients given as:

    “5 trozos carne de res” (WTF? 5 pieces of beef, how the hell do I eyeball that?) or instructions like “Cortamos la carne como para asado” (great, can the author please come over and show me?)

    Or the endless kinds of potatoes: papa imilla, papaliza, papa nut’u, papa pfureja, papa runa, that require me to ask my MIL questions like “Is it a waxy-ish or a starchy kind?”

  8. January 9, 2008 9:00 am

    Madam, el Libro de Oro de Mamá is fairly easy to understand. My husband’s nephew lived with us last spring for 3 months and he taught me a lot. I’m at the point now where I can trust myself and not use exact measurements, but then again, I’ve already been married for 5 years and just this year got started cooking Peruvian food. It was something I put off learning because I was intimidated.

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