Monday, August 11, 2008

LONG WAY HOME





Thursday I drove to a shantytown outside Lima and was introduced to the students of a wonderful cooking school for underprivileged kids set at the edge of the sea. More on that soon. That afternoon I walked around faded, regal central Lima and later took the overnight flight to NYC. Arrived Friday AM, repacked my bag, and left again for the weekend rush of the LIRR and the strange culture shock of the Hamptons. Back in the city now, locked inside working, liking the post-downpour breeze. Lima, above, in bits and pieces.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I ATE PERU. THERE IS NOTHING LEFT.



Down in Lima this week working on a fun food story. It's grey and sort of fall-wintry here, which I would have dressed myself for if I was someone who remembered to check the weather before leaving the house (or country). The warmth of my hosts and all the good food they filled me with more than made up for the weather. Can't go into too much detail as I need to save it for the story, but highlights included: the famous anticucho lady and the famous black clam, both seen above. Anticuchos are cow's hearts that are marinated, grilled and served hot on skewers out of little carts like this one that come out at night all over the city. This lady's been in the neighborhood for over thirty years and hers are meant to be some of the best. They were in fact really, really good. Conchas negras are jet-black clams from the north of Peru, used in remarkable looking all-black ceviches or just grilled. Other notable items consumed over the last four days: lungs; stewed tripe; fried blood; chirimpico = a dish of goat's tripe's & goat's blood; kid goat marinated in chicha; devil fish; an interesting sea urchin ceviche; crayfish grilled in a corn husk; guinea pig; fish roe fritter; pork ribs; green Peruvian minestrone; green tamales; pappas rellenas; and on and, I am afraid, on.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

WHAT'S LEFT BEHIND


Sunday. On a train to Newark, trying to not miss my flight to LIMA. The last time I was in Peru was a few years ago for a story for Food & Wine. We hiked the Ancascocha trail way up in the Andes. In five days of walking we passed maybe four or five people who lived in the hills (and no other hikers). One of them was a woman who owned some sheep. The chef I was traveling with bought one of the old woman's sheep for our dinner. He and the guides brought the poor thing down from the hill, slit its neck and, working swiftly, pulled the skin off like a sweater. A couple of local kids drained the blood (a vivid quickly coagulating red) into a bucket. We took the meat and left everything else for the locals who had uses for all parts of the animal—the skin for some kind of musical instrument I can't remember the name of.