Falling in Love with Peru
It was my first day in Peru and already I was in love. Our host mother had taken us to the local market (mercado) and I was overwhelmed by the variety, the color, the freshness of all the wonderful Peruvian foods. Although there were many unfamiliar foods, the main difference wasn’t the strangeness of the foods themselves, but rather the presentation. It was a thrill to wander throughout a real Peruvian market. In my excitement that day, I must have taken over a hundred photos, but at the end of the day, my very favorite was this picture of the chicken stall.
Learning to Shop in the Market
It was an education to observe our host as she chose the best stall for each item she wanted to buy, always haggling with the vendor until she got the best price. Sometimes there would be a “freebie” thrown in, a sprig of herb to cook with the veggies.
Food without Packaging
Although a lot of the vegetables in those beautifully arranged bins were similar to what I had seen in my home country, but without the packaging, the chickens struck me as totally different. I realized that I had never had occasion to examine their insides before. Chicken came from the supermarket a couple of breasts or legs at a time, sitting nicely on a styrofoam tray and tightly wrapped in plastic. Oh, sure I had actually bought some inside stuff before. I love making pate. But even then, the chicken livers came in a neat plastic container with a cover.
Living in Lima
Today I live in Lima, and get to go to the wonderful Peruvian markets any day that I want. But I think that my first day in Peru, examining the inside of the chickens was when I knew that this would one day be my home.