“I want to eat like a Peace Corps volunteer!” you say. (“No. You don't.” I say.) Well, I can't speak for all Peace Corps volunteers but I’ll happily share some of my favorite recipes with you. And by “favorite” I mean the foods I eat day in and day out and hope to not see for months and months after leaving the Peru.
Apples and Peanut Butter
Okay, we're starting off with a pretty special meal. Good apples are difficult to find in my area, peanut butter is expensive, and chocolate chips are non-existent. But when the perfect storm of conditions occur (ie a recent trip to America), this is my favorite breakfast.
1) Rub apple clean on your shirt.
2) Using a spoon, scoop peanut butter out of the jar
3) Take a bite of apple.
4) Take a bite of peanut butter.
5) Toss a couple of chocolate chips into your mouth.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
1) Light a fire on your gas stove (try to not blow up the house).
2) Heat skillet.
3) Slice the dry bread bought at your local tienda (obviously not the Piggly Wiggly because their bread is not disgusting).
4) Butter the outside of slices. Apply ample amounts of garlic salt. Make a sandwich with the cheese inside.
5) Grill sandwich in the skillet. Flip when each side is browned.
Best served with: Tomato Cup of Soup
Rice and Fried Eggs
1) Make rice. If available, I prefer Chicken and Broccoli Rice Sides (available in the USA) - make sure to add plenty of butter. If you only have white rice, add soy sauce.
2) Heat skillet. Melt some butter.
3) Fry up your eggs. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
4) When rice is finished, add some Parmesan cheese for extra deliciousness.
Serve with the eggs on top of the rice.
Beth's Delicious Oatmeal
1) Boil water. Make sure it boils for at least three minutes to kill all of the germs and parasites.
2) Pour dry oatmeal into a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of powdered soy milk (because for some reason the grocery store in Huaraz always has powdered soy milk and not powdered regular milk).
3) Add a sufficient amount of boiled water to the oatmeal/powdered soy milk. Start with a small amount – you can always add more.
4) Add some butter.
5) Mix in brown sugar. I prefer enough to make my oatmeal change color because, let's be honest, oatmeal is kind of disgusting without a ton of sugar.
6) Liberally sprinkle with cinnamon.
If available add: banana slices, diced apples, chocolate chips, vanilla, peanut butter, dried fruit, raisins, craisins, flavored instant coffee, more sugar...
The Best Way to Eat Nutella
1) Open jar of Nutella.
2) Using a spoon, take out a big scoop of Nutella.
3) Bring spoon to mouth.
4) Eat all of the Nutella on your spoon.
1) Boil water in a small pot.
2) Add pasta. I prefer the large elbows (also, they are cheapest).
3) Once pasta is cooked, drain and pour in a bowl.
4) Top with packaged tomato or huancaina sauce which you purchased at the closest grocery store (only a forty minute walk and thirty minute combi ride away). If no sauces are available, make butter noodles (ie add some butter).
5) Add salt, pepper, basil, garlic, onion, and aji (a spicy sauce).
I may live in the birthplace of potatoes but the concept of mashed potatoes has yet to reach Peruvians. Absurd.
1) Boil potatoes. Or go down the newly opened stand down the street which sells grilled chicken feet and boiled potatoes for one sol (about 35 cents) and ask just for potatoes.
2) Mix powdered soy milk and clean water in a mug. Be sure to make a little extra for your tea that night.
3) Pour the “milk” onto your potatoes.
4) Mash with a fork. Put some muscle into it!
5) When the potatoes are pretty well mashed, add some butter.
6) Once the potatoes are mashed and fluffy, add garlic salt and pepper. Feel free to add more butter.
Well, there you have it - some of my favorite things to eat day in and day out. I also eat pancakes, french toast, and cookie dough pretty religiously. My cooking philosophy is pretty simple: butter, garlic salt, and bacon make almost any savory dish better and peanut butter and Nutella are God's gifts to humanity. (Yes, I know there isn't any evidence of bacon in these dishes. This can be blamed on not having a refrigerator in site but when I’m in a regular kitchen in the city I find any excuse to make food with bacon: bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, bacon tator tots fried in bacon grease, potato salad with bacon, mashed potatoes with bacon and chives, mac and cheese with bacon, bacon cheeseburgers, spinach salad with bacon and hard boiled eggs, pizza with bacon... I think you get the picture.)
Let me know if you try out any of these delicious dishes. Don't be insulted if I call you crazy for eating any of this nonsense when you have access to grocery stores, refrigerators, and modern appliances.