Monday, July 08, 2013

Please bring me...

The travelers have returned from Ecuador, pretty much in good shape, but both thoroughly exhausted. We were all so happy to see them, especially Emily's children, who missed their Mom desperately.

In our family, returning travelers and Ecuadorean visitors come bearing gifts and special orders. There are a few things we know we want when we can get them from Ecuador. I always want earrings. I love the silver jewelry they make down there. I asked for small earrings and Emily brought me two pair. One pair are very plain, very small silver hoops. They were so difficult to get into my ears that I fear I will never be able to remove them, but I do love them. The others have a red stone and I do hope the hoops are removable so I can wear them too.

There are foods from Ecuador that we have never been able to find anywhere else. Guava paste. Emily brought me two cans. The cans are quite beautiful in themselves. The stuff inside is delicious. It is a firm fruit paste that can be sliced and eaten like candy; paired with cheese as an appetizer; or an ingredient in desserts. I like it sliced right out of the can.

Aji (ah-hee) is the Ecuadorean hot sauce found in every home and restaurant. Unlike Mexican or American hot sauces it is fruity, sweet and moderately spicy hot. Delicious on meat, potatoes, french fries and more.

The fruit in this one is tomate de arbol—tree tomato, or tamarillo. Ray keeps trying to grow tree tomatoes from seeds brought from Ecuador. So far, no luck, but with the greenhouse, he is going to give it another try. Besides being an ingredient for homemade aji, tree tomato juice is divine. And it tastes nothing like tomato. The fruit justs looks similar to a tomato.

I also asked Emily to bring me some little zippered coin purses made from the beautiful handwoven fabrics of Ecuador. They are very inexpensive and I have found them very handy for business cards and such. Here is the one I have been using to hold credit cards and bi-Mart card and Costco card and library card and blood donor card, etc. etc. It is just the right size, but it has gotten quite worn. There is a little hole in the bottom.

She brought me several, which I will share with friends.

They are a "new and improved" version, with a little key fob attached and the word "Ecuador" screened on them.

Andy and Emily know how I love the distinctive roof crosses of Cuenca and brought me another very beautiful one. Here it is with a beautiful scarf from Emily's sister-in-law.

Since our first trip to Ecuador we have had an Ecuadorean hammock in our yard. We have gone through several over the years. The kids brought Ray a new one, which he promptly installed near the creek. This is the prettiest one yet.

Emily's in-laws and Ecuadorean friends always want her to bring them goods from the United States, while we love the wonderful things from Ecuador. Mailing things back and forth is both expensive and more importantly, extremely unreliable. So, when we travel we all become couriers. The airlines' more recent weight restrictions on checked luggage make the transfers more difficult, but, thankfully, not impossible!


  1. There are many Ecuadorian immigrants here in the metro ATL..I know I've seen both products in several grocery stores..the guava paste always catches my eye on the shelf. Let me know when you need resupply

  2. Well, two of your choices from Ecuador are in every grocery store here! I love the pasta de guayana too, ours comes from the Dominican Republic and I always have a can on hand because they are so pretty! I use them in my desk drawers to keep things from rolling around, simply can't throw them away. And our Ahi sauce is from Guatemala, but my first encounter with it was from a student we had living with us from Peru- she used to bring it whenever she returned from a vacation since we all love any hot sauce. Now, if only I had some of that fabric! An I love the roof crosses too.

  3. your guava paste sounds delicious. There is a quince paste at Whole Foods that is quite good - similar as far as slicing and good with cheese.

  4. I'm glad your children are home safe. Hope Andy's mouth heals quickly.