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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Familia Grandez Zambrano

At the corner of the town Urubamba ,on the long “Calle Yupanqui” ,there is a house where in the evenings the kitchen glows up and the smell of fresh zapallosoup changes the spirit of the neighborhood around it. From time to time a member of the family living in this place leaves the metal door and walks to the next “tienda” around the corner to get more ingredients for the wonders they are about to create in their own little kitchen. When an outsider enters through that metal gate, he enters into a world filled with passion, ambition, happiness and most of all love – love that can be felt by everyone having the possibilty to enjoy and encounter the habits aswell as care of Familia Grandez Zembrano.

Every morning this outsider would wake up, hungry and tired and would be surprised by the various types of dishes served for breakfast as well as the positive energy being spread out by an 8 year old girl ,refusing to eat but still running around with all the power the world has ever seen. Not only one girl but also a 12 year old girl would be sitting at the table, rather curious about the boys she will be seeing in her school and not as much interested in witches and fantasy anymore. A kiss on the cheek would accompany every meal and would give it a very special, personal note which no restaurant on this planet can possibly create.

As the streets heat up, the laundry dries in the garden on calle Yupanqui and the mastino napoletano slobbering on the entrance near the metal gate the inhabitants of this house spread out like bees in all directions of the city ,to work busily and return back at 1 p.m. for the daily almuerzo. Also the outsider would join this reunion with the parents of the two girls, enjoy the school food just in this moment, and would be bombarded by question, which would widen his spanish knowledge immensly. Reciprocally the outsider would not be able to hold back thousands of questions about peruvian culture, politics, the family habits and especially the food they had just easily prepared for him. Most afternoons the families days are filled with work or trips with the outsider to pastellerias, heladerias, supermercados organicos or friends of the family until they all reunite again to enjoy the cosiness of a family setting and fill their stomachs again with the magic they are creating each and everyday. One evening the outsider would just walk into the mix of all those ingredients creating the powerful atmosphere dominating the house, when 2 girls would be sitting on the little table in the kitchen baking little Empanadas as well as two Empanadas de queso for the vegetarian outsider, separated with a little F out of the pastry on top of them. The grandma would stand in the background cleaning up the girls mess and laughing about all the energy that even would disturb the calm dog.

Who wonders who this outsider might be ,might be surprised that I just described myself – Franca (surprisingly beginning with the letter F) , seeking to learn as much as possible from the opportunities offered by my loving host family to share their daily lives and culture each and everyday !

As I was able to learn from their habits and traditions I want to try to be an ambassador and share with you the family Empanada recipe, which I from personal experience can highly recommend :

  • Harina blanca – 3 tazos ,477 gr
  • sal – 1 cucharita
  • Mantequilla – 200 gr ( suave, mesclar)
  • 3 Yemas de Huevo
  • Cerveza fria
  • relleno : lo que quieras – queso etc.

Amasar Harina con Sal y Mantequilla derretida agragarle poco a poco la Cerveza las Yemas de Huevo y despues lo que sobre de la Cerveza. Despues amasar bien hasta que la masa este suave ,cuando es muy liquida agregas constamete Harina hasta que este homogenia. Se deja una hora, para resposar y despues estira la masa. Poner l la masa en  moldes y  rellenar . Luego vatir huevo y con un pinsel  pintar sobre las empandas y al horno 350 grados por 30 minutos. Despues 15 minutos controlar el tiempo y la masa.

Have fun translating 😉