Can I be honest about something? I’m ready to leave Lima. I’m ready to leave the noise and the smog and the bigness of Hacker Paradise. I’m ready to not feel obligated to hang out with thirty-five people or say no and end up feeling like an anti-social weirdo. I’m ready to be somewhere I can speak the language whenever I want, to whomever I want. I’m ready to be somewhere I can get my phone and computer fixed in a timely manner without paying an arm-and-a-leg. I’m ready to see what Edinburgh has to offer.
Unfortunately, my time in Lima isn’t up until May 8. Hopefully, there will be little clouds of fun and peace and joy to carry me along for the next three weeks.
I realized something last night as I lay in bed: Lima would be a beautiful city if it didn’t have cars. The sky would be blue; the air would be fresh; the city would be quiet enough to hear the birds and the sea. Walking down the street would be a joy, not a source of constant aggression and disturbance. The cars have ruined Lima.
But parts of the city really are beautiful. Miraflores (“look flowers!”) really does have flowers that show up in unexpected places. They peek over the tops of concrete walls built as fences; they wrap themselves around cacti; they top brown trunks of trees. I’d like to be more like the flower that grows even amidst the destruction wrought by man.
Another of my little clouds in the past two weeks was cooking with my AirBnB hosts, Gabi and Diego. Diego is a chef and taught me the traditional Peruvian dish ají de gallina. It’s spicy, creamed chicken, and it was delicious.
Ají is a pepper that’s rated 30,000-50,000 Scoville Units which puts it on the same level as tabasco. A jalapeño comes in around 3,500-5,000, and a habanero is up there between 100,000 and 325,000. They use ají peppers to make a sauce called huancaina. They put huancaina on potatoes and meat and use it as a dip for plantains. They even use it instead of a cheese sauce for Peruvian mac n’ cheese. For our ají de gallina, we removed all the ribs and seeds, so it actually wasn’t spicy at all (I’d leave some in next time).
We went to the Surquillo Market, and I got to ask all my questions about the foreign fruits and vegetables. Then, we went back to his house and cooked up a feast for his girlfriend and two other friends! If you’re one of my Patreon supporters, you’ll get first access to all the recipes and stories once I make time to type them up (three in the queue!). Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for the book to come out in 2018. Either way, you’re an appreciated member of the Little Spoon community.
If you’re wondering why you didn’t hear from me last week, it’s because my computer died. For those of you who were jonesing for the next installment of The Weekly, I hope you found your fix by following Little Spoon Book on Instagram.
What little clouds have carried you through your past two weeks? Reply in the comments and let me know.
*photo by the stoic and wonderful @b3rn13s