Happy Day! A Warm Welcome from me to You! To all of you who visit Kukuli Peruvian Cuisines’ blog once in a while and can see how I have been struggling to set it up for a time now!
Through these lines I hope to share my recipes of Peruvian cooking as I tasted them while growing up at my parents’ home in Lima, Peru! Classic Peruvian cooking, home style and intriguingly delicious! From fresh ingredients and nuanced combination of flavors to a source of great nutrition for your family!
I learned to cook from my mom at an early age just by looking at her doing her things in what I would call “her kitchen.” A humongous first floor corner room with wide, tall windows, open most of the time, regardless of the weather…
The sweet memories of our kitchen helpers throughout my growing years while living in my parents’ home abound and I am deeply grateful for the imprint they left on my life! Always positive, kind, patient, smiling; filling the large kitchen space and cupboards with their contagious and gossipy laughter!
Teobalda Baylon and Edelmira Rios (Mama Mira, who used to do our laundry) who came with my mom when she and dad moved from Pisco, Ica, to live in Lima. Jovita, with her “ocopas” and “huancaynas.” Benito, the Chinese Chef who used to cook for Cerro’s management before working for us. Benito introduced us kids to compound parsleyed butters, melting on tenderloin fillets, and simple ways to prepare seafood!
Later on, Margarita Murayari, who came from somewhere near Iquitos in the Amazonian jungle, and helped me cook up storms and take care of my four daughters… She gave so much peace, walking quietly, softly, taking matters into her hands and making my every day easier during turbulent times.
Impossible to forget our Julio Parodi, also from Pisco, who went with us in that memorable (for me) trip to the United States in the Spring of 1940. Nane, my baby sister, was 3 years old and I was 4. With us were Lolita, a nurse from the Arzobispo Loayza Hospital where my father worked. She took care of my sister and me, and Julio Parodi, our family’s chef in Lima.
In the 1940’s we stayed in the States for several months, and when in New York, we would stay at the St. Moritz Hotel across from Central Park in a comfortable suite with a large kitchen where Julio cooked for us from scratch. I have no idea where he could have done his grocery shopping! But we had fresh fish for seviches and tropical fruits in the middle of the winter…
By the end of that December, at the end of 1940, we were getting ready to go back to Peru. Nazi Germany had overpowered most of Western Europe by that time and President Roosevelt was preparing to enact the Lend-Lease Bill (to provide material support and supplies to European countries crippled by the German invasion; it was enacted in January 1941).
My parents had reservations to take, what was said to be at that time, the Grace Shipping Line Company’s “last Santa” to leave the port of New York en route to South America. The boat had to travel, hopefully, unidentified… All the service lights out at night; heavy drapes covering the round windows of the cabins at all times… And no parties… These would have to wait until and after we went through the isthmus and were on the Pacific Ocean. This was, they said, on account of the German U-2’s already prowling the Atlantic. We celebrated Xmas quietly a couple of days after leaving port; mom and dad had a Xmas tree for us with real, little candles and both Nane and I got presents.
My sister and I always wondered and asked ourselves how did Santa, being so fat and rotund, manage to go into our cabin to leave our packages through those small windows! We are still wondering…
Julio went back to Pisco Playa, about two-hour drive south from Lima and set up a nice business doing what came to him naturally: cooking and catering. But each and every subsequent summer, or whenever my family went on vacations to Paracas, 20 minutes drive south of Pisco, during the year, especially in the summer, we would show up at his place and were received with open arms, warmth and the eagerness to show us his love by feeding us! And he would prepare delicious, aromatic and colorful seafood stews, rices and all kinds of seviches!
He would place his beautiful and aromatic concoctions in commercial-size pots that we took along on our all-day fishing trips to Laguna Grande and/or Lagunillas, south of Paracas, riding on cars or trucks. Or to Punta Pejerrey, across the bay from the Paracas Hotel, where we would sail to in fisherman’s motor-sail boats. Totally a real chef, energetic, strongly leading his crew and keeping a grin at all hours, proving, later on, to be an unforgettable friend and support!
I miss all of them and I owe all of them a continuous mention in this blog…
Anyway, this is the scope of my blog. Peruvian Cuisine recipes, cooking tips, comments, some “remembrance of things past…” both from Lima, and Peru and travels abroad. Profiles of interesting people I have met at some point in my life and, when possible, pretty photos…
This is it for Kukuli Peruvian Cuisines and I hope I can make it real for you and for me!
Love you and have a happy day!