Papi’s international cooking guide

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day in much of the world, that special day when we honor mothers everywhere by uploading the cutest picture of ourselves and our beloved at the most expensive restaurant in town. LOVE YOU MOM!!! XOXOXO :):)

If you’re old fashioned like me maybe you’d like to invite the family over to the house and cook. I’m no chef but I won’t go hungry either. On the other hand some of these modern mamacitas here in Peru can’t cook a hard boiled egg to save their lives! My problem is I’m set in my ways, there’s a few things I really like to cook and I’m pretty good at, a bunch more I’m OK at but I don’t venture too far outside of my comfort zone.

Then I thought, I’ve been around a bit, even if I’m no chef I can cook my favorite food and turn it into international cuisine using nothing but my travel experiences and a few extra ingredients:

1) Mexican food. An easy one for starters: cook your favorite food, add cheese and wrap in flour tortillas.

2) Oriental food: Cook your favorite food, add snow peas and soy sauce.

3) French haute cuisine: Cook your favorite food, reduce portions by 70%. Serve on a big fancy plate with a side of duck liver pâté. Also, charge 170€ per plate and feign indignation when the customer goes to McDonalds afterwards to fill their tummy.

4) Middle Eastern food: Cook your favorite food and serve in 20 similar but different sized stone pots. Add couscous. If you don’t have any mysterious Middle Eastern music to accompany your feast just play psychedelic tunes from the Stones or Led Zep, when your friends are sufficiently inebriated they won’t know the difference.

5) German food: Cook your favorite food, add beer and bratwurst.

6) Chilean food: Cook German food.

7) Peruvian food: Cook your favorite food, have a Pisco Sour for appetizer and serve with Inca Kola (the drink, not the blog) or chicha morada.

8) Colombian food: Cook anything not very yummie. Invite 50 of your best friends and/or total strangers to drink beer and aguardiente on the sidewalk in front of your house. Hire Afro-Colombian dance/music entertainment. Everybody will have the time of their lives and nobody will remember the not-so-great food. Am I right Colin?

9) Belgian food: Try cooking French “haute cuisine” but fail. Eat French Fries instead. Serve chocolates and pastries for desert and everything is forgiven.

10) Kenyan food: What little I remember, everything was good and even better with a Tusker or two.

11) Canadian Arctic: Whatever you do, don’t tell the bartender in Kuujjuaq that you’ve never eaten moose steak!

12) Greenland: I’ve never stayed long enough to eat anything other than airport food but that place is beautiful. I wish I had time and money to really go see it.

In all seriousness I’m very fortunate and grateful for the many places I’ve seen. I try to see the positives everywhere I go. The hospitality I’ve received everywhere has always been wonderful, even in places that you might think aren’t very nice if all you watch is English language news.

* * *

I wish in our modern world we would still respect and honor a mother just for being a mother. Dedicated to both my grandmothers, Mama Vicky, Brenda Rosenberry and all the other great mothers who aren’t here with us any more.

Happy Mother’s Day

Dedicated to both my late grandmothers on Mother’s Day:


Dat in gemelijke grillen
ik mijn dagen kon verspillen,
dat ik haar voorbijgegaan
of een steen daar had gestaan,

dat ik heel mijn zondig leven
heb gekregen zonder geven,
dat mij alles heeft gesmaakt,
dat ik niets heb uitgebraakt,

dat ik niet kan herbeginnen
haar te dienen, haar te minnen
dat zij heen is en voorbij,
bitter, bitter grieft het mij.

Maar de jaren zijn verstreken
en de kansen zijn verkeken.
Moest die kist weer opengaan
geen stuk vlees zat er nog aan.

Priesters zalven en beloven,
maar ik kan het niet geloven.
Neen, er is geen wenden aan:
als wij dood zijn is ‘t gedaan.

Ja, gedaan. Wat helpt mijn klagen?
Wat mijn roepen, wat mijn vragen?
Wat ik bulder, wat ik zweer?
De echo zendt mij alles weer.

Gij die later wordt geboren,
wilt naar wijze woorden horen:
pakt die beide handen beet,
dient het wijf dat moeder heet.

Willem Elsschot – Spijt (Antwerpen, 1934).

“Spijt” (regret) – A poem by the great Belgian writer Willem Elsschot, in honor of his mother. The poem was quite controversial when published because the words are not sweet and loving but raw, powerful and full of emotion.

Willem Elsschot, the great Belgian writer

Willem Elsschot, the great Belgian writer

A recent picture of our baby goose with mamacita in the Plaza Tupac Amaru, Cuzco:

In honor of Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day!