Every Dish Name Has A Story

Some Peruvian dishes have funny names, and all the dishes have a story. It’s useful to know what is what. Many of the dishes originated in the working class and I have been doing my own experiment to see if it’s true (more on the class system later).

Suspiro limeño = sigh of a person from Lima: the classic pudding dessert from Lima
Causa = cause: a layered cold potato dish whose origin is supposed from the women helping their men with fighting for the cause in the 19th century.
Leche de tigre = tiger’s milk: the lime marinade used for ceviche.
fullsizeoutput_1b1Chicharrón… de pescado = pork crackling… of fish (in the photo, the leche de tigre has chicharrón of fish on it): this is the terminology used for deep fried fish or chicken, etc. Much like “chicken fried” in the U.S. Chicharrón is also used to indicate the substantial pork roast cuts that include the crackling. Also the name of the sandwich (often served for breakfast) with the same pork roast slice.
Jamón de pavo = turkey ham: turkey deli meat that is processed to taste like ham.
Malarabe = bad arab: a soup from the north of Peru.
vwSVNPoeR5adOl2dpSkb34hAGqV0MLDKsFzlPQCBkoe46ZlpVvMKqI4BBzGftG-lHKN2vDzQzFJTT87WGRVBZXnqtdbrmlmmUr4kqGOf7iak0Zec2O1_p7udHGwcq5ek4nSMrxpf-JtJnYsv4No6KCPJvcyR8Jz0ku1_xBj7ydqlvDvJRXTrHLpWG1King Kong: a King Kong sized alfajor sweet.
Revolución caliente = hot revolution: a pastry sold at night, with its own song. Steeped in history.
Champú = shampoo: a dessert
Aeropuerto = airport: a stir fry dish so named because a lot of items land on the plate, mainly noodles and rice. This dish was named in the 1990s.
Siete colores = seven colors: a dish of seven colors, made with the following dishes — cebiche, tallarines rojos (pasta in red sauce), cau cau (made with tripe), papa a la huancaína (potatoes with yellow sauce), chanfainita (a dish often made with lung), arroz con pollo y ocopa (a peanut based sauce).
fullsizeoutput_1c1Mostro (but a variant of the correct spelling of monster. I was excited to see the dish on a menu — proof that the dish actually exists) = monster (pollo a la brasa y arroz chaufa): a spit roasted chicken quarter on a mountain of fried rice.
Mostrito = a small monster: an eighth of a roast chicken on fried rice. I was disappointed that a small monster wasn’t a larger whole chicken, but that’s me with my sense of humor…

The last two dishes are most recent and many people have not heard of them and when I ask where one can find them, I’m told “in the outskirts” which is the euphemism for the “hood.”

Dressing Up for the Tourists

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The villagers wait to perform at my “village” resort in the jungle.

Having been to many tourist destinations, I often think about the theater that goes on for my benefit. Nowhere is it more apparent than in places where the “natives” dress up in tradition costume for tourists. I don’t have any deep thoughts about this but it’s just something I notice. And makes me think of words like “experiential” and “interactive” — nothing deeper than that.

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A non-performing child suffering from the heat while in “daycare” on the bench.

These thoughts occur to me quite a bit when I look through my photos. One place where it was evident was in the Amazon when we were transported for a “visit to an indigenous village” I felt this most acutely. No one lived in the village as the “natives” all lived in Iquitos and commuted to work every day in the village. They looked suitably poker faced and bored. I suppose they didn’t dream of being actors. Or maybe they want to show that their culture was one of seriousness… This makes me wonder about humor in native societies. I never see anything about humor in museums. I would imagine that most societies have a sense of humor.Wot wot?

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A child performer adjusting his headdress.

Artfully Learning Fun(ny) Spanish

La esposa y las esposas.
” La esposa y las esposas.

Learning a new language (and culture) is both fun, and sometimes, funny. The general assumption about Spanish is that you can put an “o” on the end of the wordo (see, like that) and that this “o” will make it Spanish. Lots of the words are the indeed the same or similar in English and Spanish. These are called cognates. An example is dictionary: diccionario. Looks the same, must be the same. But, how easily one can land, mouth on foot! Here are some other words and phrases that can make for sticky or embarrassing situations (does my quick doodle better illustrate the point?).

“embarrazado” = to be a pregnant man (the “o” means that you are a man). To be embarrassed is “avergonzado” which makes me think about modern journalism being “gonzo”…
“las esposas” = the wives or handcuffs (useful if you are talking about two or more wives or handcuffs). Perhaps somehow related to “ball and chain?”

Also, today is “martes trece” or “Tuesday the 13th” which is the equivalent to “Friday the Thirteenth” — a day of bad luck, a day not to leave your house, not to start a new business, etc. in Spanish-speaking countries. Perhaps a day to stay indoors looking up funny cognates online. I am taking note of these as I go along, so if I get them wrong, please comment! I look forward to trying to avoid too many encounters of foot in mouth once I get to Colombia.