Food, Glorious Food!
Paul and I have been enjoying spending more time in the kitchen now that we are cooking for ourselves. Most PCVs aren’t as lucky as we are not just to have a kitchen but also to have our own living quarters. PCVs are required to live with a host family for six months before they can find a new place to live if they so choose. We lucked out because we live with a host family AND we have our own little apartment. It’s the best of both worlds and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t appreciate it!
Now that we are cooking all of our meals it has been fun to infuse our diet with some of our favorites from home. Since home was a big city where you could literally find food from all over the world, some of our favorites include Indian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Italian, Middle Eastern, and Brunch. Yes, Brunch is a type of cuisine – especially in Brooklyn!
Don’t get me wrong, I really like Ecuadorian food and living on the beach means fresh fish, shrimp, and oysters (coming soon from the micro enterprise Paul is working with!) but a girl can only eat so much rice. I was once served a meal of pasta, potatoes, rice, and bread. When I had a bunch of people over to our place for dinner our first month in site I cooked spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread. The first question I was asked was, “where’s the rice?”
I was reminded of the scene from the sumptuous movie, Big Night, when a diner asks for a side of spaghetti with his risotto and the Italian chef refuses. If you haven’t seen that movie you have to rent it (can you still rent movies?) not only for the story but also for the stellar Louis Prima soundtrack and the incredible meals they prepare.
So, what have we been cooking? Some highlights include: peanut noodles with chicken and broccoli; ginger soy Tilapia with potatoes; Chana Masala and vegetable curry with flat bread and rice; chicken Shnitzel with garlic mashed potatoes; arepas with avocado and black beans; scrambled, fried, hard boiled and sunny side up eggs (as well as omelettes) with fruit, toast or fresh bread and home fries; pesto pasta; burritos; sushi; Vietnamese spring rolls; spaghetti Bolognese; and frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.
We don’t have an oven at home so I have learned how to make bread in a pan and it also means that we have not made as much dessert as we used to (but that is probably a good thing). I miss baking but it looks like I will be getting back to the ovens as part of a micro enterprise Paul and I have been asked to help out with.
Our counterpart organization just decided to close its bakery and to reopen it as a pizzeria! We have been asked to help launch the business – helping with everything from designing the logo to renovating the space to buying all the supplies to running around the nearest city yesterday searching for pizza box suppliers. We will keep you updated on the progress but so far so good!
Happy cooking, Mari