VIVA EL PERU!
I love you! Long live the Peruvian Seviche…!!!
VIVA EL PERU!
I love you! Long live the Peruvian Seviche…!!!
Internationally known, Peru’s Chef GASTON ACURIO’s PERUVIAN CAU-CAU!
Made from beef tripe, diced potatoes, fresh corn, chopped onions, bits of oregano, green “yerba buena” leaves and redolent of turmeric, it’s hotness depends on how much “Peruvian Aji Amarillo” paste you choose to use. Served, always, with white rice and sliced or minced fresh Aji Amarillo on top, it is just one of the perfect comfort dishes that delights Peruanos and makes life worth living!.
Happy Mother’s Day! To all of you who visit Kukuli Peruvian Cuisines’ blog once in a while and can see how I have been struggling to set it up for a time now! Through these lines I plan to share my very personal experiences and recipes of Peruvian cooking as I tasted them while growing up at my parents’ home in Lima, Peru. I learned to cook from my mom at an early age just by looking at her doing her things in what I would call “her kitchen.” Also from looking at the cooks that learned from mom while working for us. All of them would not allow me to do anything at all, even to help them. Except Teobalda some times, bless her, who made Nane and I sit down at the large, rectangular wooden island and peel fresh, green sweet peas and pick the straws and little stones out of the day’s raw rice when we were about four and five years old. I will never forget them!
The sweet memories of our kitchen helpers throughout my growing years while living in my parents’ home abound and I am deeply grateful for the imprint they left on my life! Always positive, kind, patient, smiling; filling the large kitchen space and cupboards with their contagious and gossipy laughter! Teobalda Baylon and Edelmira Rios (Mama Mira, who used to do our laundry) who came accompanying my mom when she and dad moved from Pisco, Ica, to live in Lima permanently. Jovita, with her “ocopas” and “huancaynas.” Benito, the Chinese Chef who used to cook for Cerro’s management before working for us. Benito introduced us kids to compound, parsleyed butters, melting on tenderloin fillets, and simple ways to prepare seafood! Later on, Margarita Murayari, who came from somewhere near Iquitos and who helped me cook up storms and take care of my four daughters; she gave so much peace, walking quietly, softly, taking matters into her hands and making my every day easier during turbulent times.
I don’t want to forget our Julio Parodi, also from Pisco, who went with us in that memorable trip of 1940. We had come to the United States that early Spring. Nane was 3 years old and I was 4. Accompanying my father, my mother and the two of us were Lolita, a nurse from the Arzobispo Loayza Hospital where my father worked and who minded my sister and me; and Julio Parodi, our Chef in Lima. We would stay at the St. Moritz Hotel across from Central Park in a suite with a large kitchen and Julio cooked all those months for the six of us from scratch. I have no idea where he could have done his grocery shopping! But we had fresh fish for seviches and tropical fruits in the middle of the winter…
By the end of December we were in New York getting ready to go back to Peru. Nazi Germany had overpowered most of Western Europe by that time and President Roosevelt was preparing to enact the Lend-Lease Bill (to provide material support and supplies to European countries crippled by the German invasion; it was enacted in January 1941). My parents had reservations to take what was said to be, at the time, the Grace Company’s “last Santa” to leave the port of New York en route to South America. We had to travel sort of incognito, I guess… All the lights out at night; heavy drapes in the round windows of the rooms at all times… This was, they said, on account of the German U-2’s already prowling the Atlantic. We celebrated Xmas quietly a couple of days after leaving port; mom and dad had a Xmas tree for us with real, little candles and both Nane and I got presents. We always wondered and asked ourselves how did Santa, being so fat and rotund, manage to go into our cabin to leave our packages through those windows! We are still wondering…
Julio went back to Pisco Playa and set up a nice, on-going business doing what came to him naturally: cooking and catering. But each and every subsequent summer, or whenever my family went on vacations to Paracas during the year, we would, of course! show up at his place where we were received with open arms and warmth and the eagerness to show us his love! And of course he would prepare delicious, aromatic and colorful seafood rices and seviches and what not! And he would place these in commercial-size pots that we took along on our all-day fishing trips to Laguna Grande and Lagunillas, south of Paracas; or even to Punta Pejerrey, across the bay from the Paracas Hotel, where we would sail to in fishermen’s boats that came to pick us up from the San Andres fishing village; or ride Mr. Balshaw’s yacht to the Ballestas Islands! Julio was a happy, no-problem, totally-real chef, keeping a grin at all hours and proving to be an unforgettable friend and support!
I miss all of them and I owe all of them a continuous mention in this blog…
Anyway, this is the scope of my blog. Peruvian Cuisine recipes, tips, comments, some “remembrance of things past…” both from Lima, from across Peru, and from travels abroad; profiles of people I have met at some point in my life; places I have gone to that should be interesting to revisit and review; and, when possible, pretty photos… This is it for Kukuli Peruvian Cuisines and I hope I can make it real considering that I don’t know much about computers and can’t understand WordPress’ instructions sometimes… on how to set this blog up…
Love you and have a happy day! A Very Happy Mother’s Day!
(Not to be petty about it and please forgive me, but all of the text and some chosen photos and videos by me, are my very own Copyright! Forever and Ever…).