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Other People's Pantries #44

From Cousin Martin and Ted, reporting on their homestay hosts' pantry in Amantani:

On our recent trip to Peru, one of our many wonderful experiences was a homestay with a family in the Colquecachi Community on Amantani Island in Lake Titikaka. Silvestre and Irma Suaña Calsin and their 11-year old daughter Nelida were our hosts. The house is made of mud and straw brick with a corrugated roof.

Tourists are encouraged to bring gifts of food and we brought a kilo each of pasta, rice and sugar. At 12,500' elevation, the steep climb up to their house was exhausting, and the food seemed to grow heavier with each step.


The kitchen and eating area is in a separate building with a dirt floor. Along with a small table, a bench and two log seats, they have a small gas cooker and a mud brick oven in which they burn eucalyptus wood and leaves, which smells wonderful.


Irma, using clay pots and wooden spoons, cooked us a wonderful lunch of soup, quinoa with llama and potato, and a dinner of soup, pasta and fried yam. In the morning, we had our farewell breakfast of pancakes, coffee and mate de coca.

This is the entire pantry.


We enjoyed our stay and were amazed at the good food that came from this tiny pantry, especially in contrast to our "perfect" pantries back home.

On Saturdays, we peek into Other People's Pantries.

Come on -- show us your pantry.

Here's how.

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Wow. Interesting story and fascinating pictures. Thanks for sending this in.

Great feature for Thanksgiving weekend. I'd forgotten how grateful I am to even have a pantry, let alone one overstocked and bulging. I am humbled to hear about such wonderful meals produced from such basic means. Thanks for sharing this.

Thanks for sharing kitchens from Peru. Delight to see on your page!

I echo Laurie's sentiment...powerful to read and see, especially at this time.

So interesting. This reminds me of the kitchen Gretchen has shown on Canela & Comino, also in Peru. Also a good reminder for us to be Thankful for all the things we have.

This truly is "other people's pantries". I have never seen anything like it, a whole different world. How fascinating.

Not only facsinating and thought provoking, but yet another opportunity for Ted to say (write) "Titikaka"! I love hearing (reading) it as much as you love to say (write) it! (everytime!!)

What a fascinating piece. It proves the point that it's not the size of the kitchen or the sophistication of the equipment that you have, but the skill of the cook that determines the quality of the food.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

This is such an eye opening pantry / kitchen. I echo the sentiments of that last statement.

Hey, you've been tagged! Come check out my site for details.

Martin and I are glad to share our lovely experience on Amantani Island. We were traveling with 5 others who all had wonderful experiences at their homestays.
Laura: We were told that Titikaka means stone puma - one word is Quechua, one is Aymara. Sometimes spelled Titicaca. (Got it in two more times!)
Gretchen, I didn't get to Arequipa, but now I've seen it, A to Z on your site.

Here in the US so many of us take for granted the bounty we have, even those in modest circumstances. This is a lovely kitchen and pantry because it feeds and sustains a family and guests. ...the stove brings memories of a 'toy' stove my sister had, in the 50's. She used it to make candles. Perfect food for thought this weekend.

Your photographs touched me deeply. Silvestre and Irma's pantry+kitchen looked just like my Grandmothers. It was rustic, dusty, simple, but overflowing with love and food.
Thank you for sharing this.

Now that's an interesting kicthen!

Susan: You're right, I'm sure Irma could turn out a great meal with an Easy-bake oven.
White On Rice Couple: Thanks, it's good to remember there are kitchens like this all around the world.

Thank you so much for this pantry/kitchen!
We forget how very much we have when we have it everyday. So Perfect right now!

It really is amazing what wonderful cooking can come from the simplest of kitchens and pantries. Some of the best meals we've had in Asia and Europe came from kitchens like this... thanks for giving us a peek into another gem!

Some of the best meals in my travels have been from the most tiny, low tech kitchens-- which goes to prove that it is the heart behind the meal that counts more than the setting. This post is simply lovely!

I second Ted's comments. This visit was one of the highlights of our trip in Peru. It was amazing the quality of food that come off of that simple wood-fired oven. And I can tell you that in the chill of the morning at that elevation, sitting close to the fire was definitely a plus!

Really, at sea level, the Gravity is 1G, so a kilo is a kilo...

At the elevation you describe, the kilo would, in fact, weigh less.

It's probably a good thing that not many people know this, else you'd have been told that you had lied when you gave them a "Kilo" of these foodstuffs, because, at that elevation, they'd weigh less - not more - since the gravity is a very, very tiny bit less.

It's to do with Special Relativity Theory - ask Einstein - and the fact that a body in space's gravitation pull is based upon the subjects relative proximity to the gravity body's core.

So, Einstien's Dog, I would weigh less too? That's great! I always knew that the special relativity theory and Lorenz transformation would come in handy some day. Who knew it would be on an island in Lake Titikaka?

But the packages did SEEM to get heavier with every step and well worth the effort for our fabulous hosts.

You sure would...

Did you account for dessication too?

I'll bet that carrying a few kilos of staple carbs was well worth the effort when you reached the top!

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