Friday, August 23, 2013

And we're home



Home from Peru.

But before that we spent three nights at a lodge on the brown Tambopata River where we saw capybaras (the world's largest rodent), a few caimans, several tarantulas, macaws eating clay from the side of a cliff, and carpenter ants. 

With the exception of winged insects, the wildlife was surprisingly sparse. The animal viewing here in Marin County is better, with more variety, quantity, and proximity, and when we spent 20 minutes watching some deer through binoculars, I wanted to laugh. 

We had fun anyway. Andes = cold and tense. Jungle = hot and relaxed. 

At the lodge we ate causa for the first time. Imagine a terrine of cold, tart mashed potatoes, creamy fish, avocado, and black olives. Cold, tart mashed potatoes. Sounds awful, but it was very, very delicious.

And then there were the pisco sours.

Drinking is no fun when your only companions are Owen and his iPod Touch, so I hadn’t been observing cocktail hour. But after two weeks of watching other tourists drink pisco sours, I finally had to order one. I loved it. What a surprise. The pisco sour is tangy, soft, and rich, as opposed to the margarita, which is tangy, lean, and sharp. The last two nights of the trip I drank pisco sours and they were the best nights of the vacation though not because of the pisco sours. They were the best nights of the vacation because I made friends. At the lodge, I met two delightful Englishwomen, Lorna and Maggie, and over the course of three days the word "bigot" never once came up. I was as sad to part with them as I was relieved to see the last of Ann.

Maggie convinced me I need a Vitamix. She makes Stilton and broccoli soup in hers, a dish that has taken on a life of its own in my head. Doesn't that sound great? I’m pretty sure I'll make Stilton and broccoli soup in the blender before I can justify buying a Vitamix, but I also know that one of these years I'll probably buy a Vitamix. 

25 comments:

  1. I hear the Blendtec is better for less money . . . just a thought.

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  2. Welcome home! I'm glad you had such a positive experience at the end of your trip.

    Somehow I think buying a Vitamix will inevitably lead to doing things like blending kale. That might be something to keep in mind. It's a slippery slope from Stilton soup to healthy, anti-oxidant packed green smoothies.

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  3. I stopped using my Vitamix when I bought a decent food processor. The Vitamix just started to seem like overkill. I sold it on Ebay where, if you keep looking, you can get a bargain.

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  4. I got pulled in by the Vitamix tractor-beam at Costco....we love ours. I actually use my food processor less often because it's such a pain to clean.

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    1. And I got pulled in by the Vitamix tractor-beam on the QVC Network. I love it, and I'm thinking of putting my food processor on ebay.

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  5. Passing by our local kitchenware shop yesterday I asked about the Vitamix and the woman said, "They're so noisy!" But I wondered if that was just because she didn't carry them.
    I'm going to hold off until 2014 and maybe will forget the passion with which Maggie spoke of her Vitamix.

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  6. I love my Vitamix! I highly recommend that you consider buying a refurbished one from the company if you want one. They are much cheaper, come with a warranty, etc. The refurbished one I bought a few years ago is going strong. I still use my food processor, but I often use my Vitamix instead. Their uses are complimentary, I think. I will never go back to a regular blender after having used one of these. It is noisy, but I don't think it is any noisier than all the other blenders I have owned. (Maybe other people have owned quiet blenders, but most of mine have sounded like a 747.) Glad you are home safely.

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  7. I bought your book and actually use it and I read your blog regularly; it helps me to keep my sanity. Thank you!

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  8. Every kitchen I've worked in used a Vitamix. One chef I worked with had a father with ALS, and during the end stages they had to feed hime pureed foods. He swore it could puree rocks It may be loud, but it is so fast that it makes up for it. I don't have one at home, but I can see the appeal.

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  9. Loved hearing about your trip!

    I have had a Vitamix for 15 years now, and it's still going strong. I bought it when I burned out three blenders in as many months making smoothies with all frozen fruit. It is definitely the way to make any kind of pureed soup (and yes, you really can cook the soup as you blend it). They are quite loud. My cats run for cover when they see me pull the thing off the shelf. I hear that the newer ones are a bit quieter, but mine sounds like a 737 taking off. Still, I find it indispensable. I could live quite happily without a food processor, but someone will have to pry my Vitamix from my cold, dead fingers.

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  10. I took a cooking class in Mexico City with Rick Bayless last Feb. and he carried his Vitamix from Chicago just for the class.

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  11. Yes, please buy a Vitamix and go to town. I cannot wait to see what you will do with one!

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  12. I ordered a Pisco sour last evening here in NYC. Terrific!

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  13. I make a stilton cheese soup with white wine (well it's been awhile) and a cailifower cheese and dill soup( from Moosewood?). If I can find the recipes I will send them to you. The califlower one is gorgous to look at. The stilton version is delicious.

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