Cuenca: November 12-21, 2018

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I finally broke down, put my writing to one side, and focused on catching up with my bookkeeping. Normally I update my books every month. I keep up my bank accounts and bills every few days, but getting everything in to QuickBooks for my CPA is a lot more involved. With selling the condo, getting sick for most of April and May, and moving to Ecuador, I hadn’t updated my books in over six months. It took six full days to get caught up. Well, that is better than in some years, where I take the whole month February to get ready for tax time.

Once I was all caught up, I treated myself with several days of goofing off, and not getting any writing done. I didn’t realize until now that I had gone so many days without taking photos during my daily walks. My daily walks do double duty. I usually walk to the store, which is about 1.5 miles from the condo. I take the long way there and the short way back with my groceries. I try to walk 3 to 5 miles here. That is down quite a bit from what I walked daily in Honolulu. I am still not used to walking in inclosed shoes, and I still tire easily at this altitude.

One of the ladies at Le Mercado 3 De Noviembre near my condo sells these red potatoes, which are yellow on the inside. They are the best potatoes I ever had.

One day, during a break from working, I began thinking about how my mother cooked potatoes. First thing I knew I was returning from the market with a dollars worth of my favorite potatoes. I changed mother’s recipe a little, by using olive oil rather than Crisco. I don’t use any products like Crisco in my cooking. Once when I was in Porto, Portugal. I was served potatoes, pan-fried in olive oil. they were part of the best meal I have ever had in my life. Olive oil was a nice addition to my mother’s potatoes.

She sometimes cooked french fries, in a cast iron skillet, in about an inch of oil. Those were really nice, but my favorite potatoes were what she called American fried potatoes. As you can see in the above photo the potatoes are sliced thin. A small amount of oil is put in the skillet. The potatoes are allowed to cook on a high heat, for two minutes, without stirring. I use tongs to flip sections of the potatoes over. After I cooked them on both sides, I added salt and pepper. I just keep turning the potatoes every two minutes until they begin to char on both sides. This brings out a really sweet flavor.

When I was in Europe I came across a condiment, which the locals were calling American Sauce. They were surprised that I, an American, had never seen or heard of it before. It was just a mix of half mayo and half catsup. Since I love mayo on my fries, I took to American sauce. I don’t know how my mother would have felt about my eating the American fried potatoes with American sauce, but I really liked it. Of course here, I have to mix my own. I also put a bit of garlic paste into the mix.

My other foray into nostalgia, wasn’t so fortuitous. One day when I was shopping at the Supermaxi, I saw a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese. I use to live on that stuff, when I was staying at a residential hotel in Galveston waiting for a ship. I don’t seem to like it any more, and found that only when I mixed some shrimp into it did I find it palatable. I know those of you who can’t stand seafood and cheese are cringing now. When I was a kid we used to get shrimp pizza at my Dad’s favorite joint. When I was in London, I was glad to find that I could get tuna pizza.I love the taste all much as making you cringe.

On the 21st, I didn’t need to go shopping, so I went to the other side of the Tomebamba River, and walked for three miles away from the city. I was wondering if I could walk to the zoo. I knew that the distance wasn’t too far for me, but I wasn’t sure if there was a footpath going the whole way.

With all the recent rain, the river isn’t so tranquil.
City workers were beginning to string ropes of christmas lights across the river at close intervals.
Alongside the river, I found where they had made another use of a dead tree.
In addition to the lights across the river, lights have been formed into shapes and erected on posts on the banks.
A frog on a lily pad.
Seeing how fast the river is running with just normal rains, I now understand how the broken bridge was taken out in a flood.
I wonder what color the bird is going to be when they light them off?
I didn’t make it to the Zoo, I saw this park off from the footpath and went to check it out. Seeing how dark the sky was getting, I decided that a walk to the zoo, would have to wait for another day.
It was very hard, not to start climbing all over this. A big clap of thunder shooed me on my way.
On my way home I stopped and bought a roasted plantain stuffed with Queso fresco, from one of the street vendors. I could not believe how good it was. I only ate half and saved the rest to see if would be good reheated. It was.

In spite of the long walk, with half of it in a heavy rain, I still managed to make it to the Language exchange, for my weekly meeting. There were only a handful of English speakers, so we each took a separate table and divided the Spanish speakers between us. I like it better when there is an English speaker, who speaks english better than me at the table, since it easier for me to add to the conversation, rather than lead it. I had fun, but was glad when the hour of Spanish was over and we switched languages.

Categories: Americas, Cooking, Ecuador, food, Nomad's Food, TravelTags: , , , , , , ,

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