Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Sunday, October 4, 2009


The family’s diet since I’ve been in Peru has been pretty much the same the past three weeks. Breakfast is served around 7am and is pretty light, generally a couple of slices of rolls with butter and/or jelly, occasionally with palta (avocado). Sometimes we’ll have avena Quaker which is a kind of runny oatmeal made with milk, oats and sugar. To drink, decaffeinated coffee (ouch) with unprocessed brown cane sugar and milk from a can. The family eats the same but they’re always on the run so they sometimes miss out on breakfast or just have avena or a slice of bread.

Lunch is the big meal of the day and is generally served around 1pm (as I write this it’s 1:30 and my ass is starving). They love their potatoes and rice and generally have both at the same time. One cup of rice, half a potato sliced up and either boiled or fried, and chicken either boiled and seasoned with salt or cooked in a tomato based stew. They stretch their chicken here and everyone gets a little piece. If you’re lucky you get a whole drumstick (happened to me once). Sometimes the old man buys pollo ala Milanesa which is chicken breast filleted thin with flour and seasoning and pan-fried in vegetable oil. Occasionally we’ll eat our chicken with spaghetti (which the old man actually throws against the wall to see if it’s done). Sometimes instead of chicken, the old man will fry up an egg and eat it with rice. I did have liver the other day for lunch. Wouldn’t have been my first choice but I’m craving protein right now so I gobbled it up.

Dinner is pretty much lunch reheated in smaller portions. Occasionally the old man will serve me a salad with broccoli, palta, carrot, and an egg but the family doesn’t seem to eat salads very often. Last Sunday, my host sister sliced up a cucumber and marinated it in lime juice which was absolutely delicious and refreshing.

They don’t really do desert here but every now and again the kids will run across the street to the store and buy a popsicle.

The family is kind of like a typical American family in that everyone’s busy and eats at different times. Breakfast is generally between 7 and 8. Lunch for the family is after the kids get out of school at 1. Dinner just depends on who’s around and when but generally is around 7 or 8. Sunday lunch seems to be a big time for the family to all sit down and have lunch together, if they’re around. We also have a gaseosa (soda pop) or freshly blended fruit juice that day.

The food is for the most part bought at nearby markets from local and regional producers. There are a couple of bakeries in town that sell freshly made bread. Fruits and vegetables are sold at a farmers market open on Saturday and Sunday. The chicken is bought from a local butcher. Occasionally, the old man will go to the Metra supermarket to buy things in bulk i.e. canned milk, a loaf of sliced bread, etc.

Since my host sister works and also attends the Instituto, the old man takes care of all the cooking except maybe a Sunday lunch when his daughter will cook.

Despite eating so much starch, I’ve still managed to lose weight (I think that’s because I was rockin’ Chicago pizza, burritos, McDonalds and beer pretty hard before I left).

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