Posted on | December 28, 2010 | 8 Comments
December 27 – Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)
These two prompts were perfect for me to combine into one.
Soul food for me has always been the kind of food my grandma cooked. My mom’s family is Southern, from North Carolina, so we’re talking fried chicken, gravy and biscuits, pecan pie and coconut cake. My grandma cooked country-style and she cooked BIG. There were no small meals in her house.
That’s the way I learned to cook, and those are my favorite foods. But since I’ve lived in Peru, I’ve had to change the way I cook, for a number of reasons.
First, the ingredients I’m used to using aren’t here. There is no Bisquick or Jiffy corn muffin mix, so I get no biscuits or corn bread.
Second, and the real showstopper – Peruvians don’t take well to outside foods and flavors. So while I can fit in some things, like my fried chicken, other things just aren’t as well accepted. When I make mashed potatoes and gravy, I get looks of sympathy because they think I don’t know how to make “pure de papa”. That’s the Peruvian style of mashed potatoes that’s too thin and runny to be made into a gravy volcano. I’m a good cook, but most of my Peruvian family doesn’t see it – they think I’m useless in the kitchen because I don’t know how to do it the Peruvian way. (Not my husband – he loves most American food.)
So I’ve spent a lot of the last few years learning to do things the Peruvian way – in fact, that’s what the majority of this blog is about. I write about the ordinary joy of making dishes I’ve learned to cook and love. And while the food may not feed my soul as much as my grandma’s fried chicken, I can tell you it does WONDERS for my soul to hear my kids say they like my “aji de gallina” better than their abuela’s.
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