Friday, October 23, 2015

When life hands you tomatoes...

Some recipes require sun-dried tomatoes.  Period.  Anything else won't do.  However, they are either very expensive, as in Bogotá at about $15.00 for a little baggie, or are altogether unavailable, as in Huancayo.
The ingredients are all here - tomatoes and sun, much of the time, and both are cheap.  On the other hand, this place is just plain dusty.  A lot of the streets aren't paved, and a lot of ground is untended and bare.
What all that dust turns in to during the rainy season is another story.  For this one, suffice it to say that leaving the slices of roma tomatoes out to sun-dry would leave them kind of gritty.  So...
You have to innovate.  Paula loves getting in the car after church, because it's usually warm from the sun...and hey!  Great idea!  No dust!  Car-dried tomatoes!!
So next time you're in the third world and you just HAVE to have this tasty ingredient, remember the cargo space on your Nissan, and presto!
We hope that you can find what you need a bit easier.
Dave & Paula

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Henderson Family tradition comes to Peru

Paula's a good cook, no question.  She has become well-known among the missionaries for her culinary skills, and any invitation to the mission home for a meal is reason enough to cancel anything else. At their departure, she cooks a special meal for the missionaries, in which - gasp - there are no rice, potatoes or chicken!
She has learned to adapt to the locally-available foodstuffs.
Such as mangoes, in season.
No council or conference with the missionaries would be complete without her brownies.
During sessions with the pensionistas that feed the missionaries, Paula has introduced them to various exotica, such as pancakes.
One of her supreme achievements is a strawberry pie, the recipe for which has been handed down in her family from a 1964 Better Homes and Gardens, which displayed it on the cover.
This particular confection has become legendary.
No question, some of Paula's desserts through the years have knocked it clean out of the park.  It became a family rule that if it was that good, licking your plate was within the limits of proper etiquette.  
This has now become the rule in the Mission.  Some of these plates were licked so clean, I believe that they could have been put straight back in the cupboard, though we didn't.
We hope that your cooking turns out to be as appreciated.
Dave & Paula

Saturday, October 3, 2015

SUV Tetris!

Many of you are old enough, admit it, to remember a fairly clunky video game called Tetris, in which falling blocks of various shapes came faster and faster and faster until you screamed and shut the thing off, and then your little brother beat your score by about seven times.
Here in our part of Peru, about 95% of the vehicles on the road are for hire, be they taxis, mototaxis, trucks, etc.  Therefore, most hotels and restaurants don't need much parking - you just wave down a moto and jump out at your destination, the vehicle having at least slowed down, you hope.  
We are in Huánuco, a city of about 200,000 people at about 6,000 feet, which is a 6-7-hour drive from Huancayo.  Being the most reasonable and safe hotel in town, we usually stay at the Gran Hotel Huánuco, which was built about two months after I was.
Especially in that bygone era (OK, it's not THAT long ago!), there were even fewer private vehicles, so the cochera, or place to stash your car, didn't have to be very big.  
However, times change, and in addition to there being more and bigger cars, the owners of the hotel got ambitious and recently doubled the rooms and went after groups.  
Unfortunately, car number and size has collided with hotelier ambitions.  The cochera is now woefully inadequate, and it's anyone's bet whether you can get out if you got in.  Add the mining company groups with their trucks, and it's SUV TETRIS!!  
The rules of the game are that you leave your keys at the front desk, and if someone panics and needs to get out, the hotel guys play SUV Tetris with your vehicles.  That's "The Beast" in the foreground, as the Nissan Pathfinder (Path-squasher?) has been named by the missionaries.
We hope that your cocheras are adequate, or that your hotel guys are good at SUV Tetris.
Dave & Paula