We’ll see how much there is to post about on this visit back to Trujillo, Peru. For those who’ve been with me awhile and want a refresher, or those who’ve not and want an introduction, Henry and I are visiting his family for a week, followed by a couple of days to the mountaintop village to meet his father (which should be interesting, he’s the one person in the entire extended family of a zillion relatives who “doesn’t know” – and while Henry has told me that he’s going to simply introduce me as a friend and business partner, I’ve already told him that if his father asks, I’m not going to lie, and left the visit up to him). Anyway, you can see back to my first visit here, and the second series of posts here. So I’m not going to repeat a lot of what I’ve already noted.
I will say that the family homestead has improved once again. That’s been primarily due to Henry, who has, bit by bit each year arranged for at least something to be done – usually I send the money via an online account and he pays me back. It’s not totally altruistic on his part, technically, the house is his and a couple of his sisters live in it. He pays the annual taxes and such, they pay the monthly bills and take care of the place. So first off, the major change is that there’s concrete – a floor, walls, and most of the house with a roof – it’s not all dirt anymore. There are still some open sections, but that’s by design, they like having that open air feel, even if at this time of year it makes things a bit chilly. Though they still haven’t got their own cabling for electric, that’s actually in the works and will likely be done within a month or so, and they do have every room now wired by extension cords all run from one central point that they’re currently tapping into the “shared” grid outside. So the kitchen has a refrigerator now. And we have lights and electric sockets, albeit precarious ones. And there’s a shared wi-fi router that the family and two neighboring families chip in on and use – it’s actually faster and more stable than what we had in our hotels in either Iquitos or Lima. And, we spent a portion of yesterday arranging for flooring to be put in in the living room/dining room and kitchen, and picked up buckets of primer and paint to paint the front exterior which is currently just bare concrete. So I’m less unhappy with staying here than the two previous times.
Arriving in the evening last Thursday, we started off the visit with a dozen or so of the family gathered around the table to greet us. Big plates of small yellow potatoes, plates of hot sauce and each person got a plate of a sort of chopped fish, tomato and onion sauce that Henry usually puts on spaghetti. We basically just broke the potatoes open with our hands, steaming hot, and scooped up sauce and chili. Visited to the wee hours here (which means about 10 or 11 pm for them), and then a good night’s sleep. Next morning off to the Mayorista market for food shopping – lots of condiments, since they keep nothing but salt in the house – it still surprises me how little they use spices here given the general use of them in Peruvian cooking – it’s just a family thing and some weird “old wives’ tales” that I’ve mentioned before. I bought everything I needed to make the whole family a big adobo de chancho
the next day.
For lunch his sister Maria whipped up a tallarines con pollo
, the mildly spicy carrot based sauce in which they stew chicken and peas and then ladle over pasta. Dinner later on was a simple soup of potatoes and eggs in chicken broth made with the bones from lunch. Waste not, want not.
If you look at the second from the bottom photo here
, the young girls to the left in yellow and aqua are the two young women to the right in the photo above – after all, it’s been six and a half years since then, and they’re no longer the little wisps I mentioned. Somehow that hasn’t stopped the whole family from piling into cabs, ten at a time if they can squeeze in, it’s just far less accommodating. His two older sisters haven’t changed much, the baby in the same photo from that first visit is now the youngster in the forefront of the above. And, that’s my adobo de chancho which I taught his sister Maria how to make (more of the family dropped by in shifts to eat). It’s a dish they’ve never had because, as I was informed, it’s from a different region of Peru, so although they’ve heard of it, they’d never had a reason to even think about trying it. They will now, I think… it’ll be interesting to hear if she ever makes it for the family again, they all seemed to love it – I made nearly four kilos of it, everyone had two plates of it, and licked plates and pot clean.
A return to the family favorite El Paisa
, where we had lunch yesterday. Yes, we got the bill again, a smaller group of us this time, and it’s not quite so cheap anymore – no longer 9 soles a plate, more like anywhere between 15 and 30, so I’m glad the whole family didn’t show or we may have simply handed it back with our share of the cash. So, we shared a couple of ceviches…
A couple of plates of corvina (sea bass) en ajo, a rich garlic sauce…
One plate of chicharron de pescado for the sister who simply must eat fried food every chance she gets…
And, of course, one cuy, guinea pig, deep fried and accompanied by garlic and chili sauce, to share around the table. Dinner was chicken tamales that Henry picked up downtown when he went to visit a couple of friends in the early evening.
What will the rest of the week hold?