Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's in the bag, Ma'am?

Apparently when Chela and Ani (see previous post) took their bags through Immigration in Miami one very heavy bag attracted some attention from the Immigration official. When he asked Chela what the contents of that bag were, she replied something like "Horrors—things you couldn't imagine." Not being a seasoned international traveler, Chela didn't know that you don't joke with uniformed personnel in American airports. Oops. Instead of arresting her immediately (she looks so dangerous!) he asked her the question again, very seriously, very sternly and got the right answer. Food.

When we all got to Emily's house the night they arrived, she opened up the suitcase and started pulling out all the things her Ecuadorean son has been missing since he came to the US a year and a half ago. Little cheese tamales. Mote (pronounced mo-tay) which is dried corn that cooks up fat and chewy, rather like hominy. Preserved figs. Tree tomato juice. Tree tomato jam. Coconut jam. Roasted corn. Aji (a fruit-based hot sauce). Guava candy. Guava jam. What am I forgetting? She brought a lot—containers for Emily and Cayo and containers for Ray and me.

Yesterday she cooked lunch for us. One of our favorite Ecuadorean dishes, Locro de papas, which is potato soup with avocado and cheese and roasted corn thrown in as a garnish. Unbelievably yummy and warming.

Tonight I cooked some of the mote with eggs and onions and some little bits of good smoky bacon. In Ecuador they cook it with bits of roast pork, which is a staple of their diet, but I didn't happen to have any roast pork in the fridge. I was going to take a photo because you know I don't like posts with no photos, but when I looked at it I decided a photo would do nothing to convince you of how tasty this dinner was. You know how some things that taste really good don't actually look all that good? Case in point.

So, no photos tonight. But we are eating well and remembering wonderful meals in Ecuador. And meanwhile Ani and Chela are working hard to fill that now empty suitcase. They've logged more time at the Washington Square Mall in the last two days than I have in the last year.


  1. I have grilled pork loin in the fridge. We should have joined forces. But you wouldn't want to be near me. I opted for turkey soup, again. Ah choo!

  2. The soup sounds scrumptious. You reminded me of the wonderful food entries on you Ecuador Blog.

  3. No photos on my blog tonight, either.
    You just HAD to post that link to the recipe, didn't you? Troublemaker! I wandered guilelessly into a delicious
    land of food and recipe blogs - just what I need. Of course, now I have to make that soup, too. And if I do, I'll post a picture.

  4. Oh, what a Christmas you are going to have! I'm still laughing at the attraction of the Mall - keep cooking and sharing this wonderful two-family reunion.

    My blog was picture-worthy tonight - no soup, just unexpected presents.

  5. That's funny about the mall - my sister-in-law power shops there too when she visits us from Peru. And one of her other favorite places is CVS! Her suitcase is usually full of "blue jeans americanos" and hair products on the way back.

    She brings me and my husband our favorite Peruvian food when she comes - papas amarillas (instant unfortunately), mix for chicha morada, Donofrio candies, and turron de Dona Pepa. Think I'll stop at the bodega in the next town on the way home and pick up some Inca Kola because at least I can get that here. And now I'm hungry too...

    Have a happy happy and a merry merry!

  6. This post is great - it is exactly what my other would do - bring back lots of foodstuffs. We've had some fun at the Canadian border, as the border patrol inspected all of the different spices we brought. And my mother gave spices to my sister-in-law as a wedding gift.