One morning, breakfast was more particularly special at Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo. Henry’s cousin and her friend had come to stay on holiday from Lima. I had been reminded from the outset that I am already family and so it was that I deserved my place at the table for an ‘Ayacucho’ breakfast/desayuna. Ayacucho is the original home-place of my host and his cousin. It is a beautiful part of Northern Peru, so I am told, but sadly, in the ‘80’s it was fraught with much intimidation and violence of terrorists. Unrest and tragedy resulted in much of their family leaving their home-place for a more tranquil existence in the city of Lima.
To-ing and fro-ing of food from the kitchen saw a bare table transformed to a wonderment of assortments of food. The customary pot of hot avena was set aside for scooping a liquid helping of a type of oatmeal spiced with cinnamon and apple. The flask of hot water was on standby for coca tea or coffee. Bowls of hot petite potatoes in their skins were placed at the centre alongside a freshly blended bowl of soft creamed cheese with peppers and onions. Rounded pans of bread were piled upon an additional plate. Completion of the breakfast as with many Peruvian meals required a bowl of toasted cancha (corn), which I grew quite partial to during my stay.
It was a hearty breakfast. When I say hearty, I mean the heart was in it, not just one heart, many hearts, in the eating and drinking, the silences and laughter. It was wonderful to find a home so far from your own and be so welcomed in this peaceful setting.
Christmas Day is always special. I shared it once again with my own family in Ireland. We were especially thankful this year that we are all together, healthy and well with not too much to complain about. I remembered my invitation to be with my Peruvian family for Christmas in Ollantaytambo. I look forward to such a time. Meanwhile, I cherish the memory of my Ayacucho breakfast at Hostal La Casa Del Abuelo It was August but really it was my Christmas in Peru.
©Caroline Cunningham Author of Wild Star Landing Blog December 25th 2013
An Irish Woman’s journey living in the little town of Ollantaytambo, in Peru’s Sacred Valley, Cuzco Region.