Chicken Oregano

If I were to rename this dish I would call it Orange Juice Chicken.  It is delicious!  Yes, it has oregano but the outstanding flavor for me is the orange infused chicken.  Those probably aren’t the right words for folks who know cooking (unlike me–I don’t know cooking), but it seems like all parts of the chicken are infused with that orange flavor.  Give it a try and serve it over rice, real rice.  Thanks, mom, for the recipe. (The food-splotch stains are mine.)

Chicken Oregano

Chicken Oregano Sauce

Porcupine Meatballs

Nothing says comfort like mom’s Porcupine Meatballs.

I have not made this recipe in many years, but it is one that I loved.  Note in the recipe where it says, “Real rice.”  You might think that the opposite would be fake rice, but this is actually a reference to Minute Rice, as in, “Don’t use Minute Rice.” Mom always used Minute Rice when she was cooking so she wanted to make sure that I knew which rice to use: real rice.

To up the comfort level even more, I would recommend serving this with more real rice or perhaps mashed potatoes.  Mom also used instant mashed potatoes, but mashing your own potatoes is pretty easy, especially if you have a potato ricer.  Rice and potatoes seems pretty Peruvian to me.

Porcupine Meatballs

Forgotten Pot Roast

As the year comes to an end, and what a year it has been, I have been looking at some old recipes.  (Searching for comfort in uncomfortable times?) These recipes are from my mother’s recipe box.  I have no idea where they came from originally; I know that the script is hers.  For now, I will imagine that they came from the careful mixing of her tastes, her experience, and her history, handed down from previous generations.  Of course they may have been borrowed from the back of a box, but I will stick with the careful mixing/ handed down metaphor. 

Here is the first one: Forgotten Pot Roast.  If you try it, let me know what you think.

Forgotten Pot Roast

Vote your Values

Today is Election Day in the United States. Please vote.

And when you vote, please consider your beliefs, your values. When I vote, I tend to think about the greater good. I think about the people who have not had the luck, the blessings that I have had. I consider the Catholic Church’s preferential option for the poor, the impoverished. Who would create conditions and policies that would favor them?

I also think about welcoming the stranger, the migrant, and the children. Which candidate will create conditions at home and abroad where all feel welcome and safe? No one wants to be forced to leave home, but sometimes it is necessary for reasons of health and safety. Who will be welcoming while helping to create a world where migrating is a choice, not a matter of life or death?

I think about education. When quality education is available for all, possibilities emerge, futures are possible. Education never stops; we never stop learning. Which candidate will create conditions so that life-long learners have the opportunity to think critically? I want people to think deeply and from various perspectives. I want people to see the world in shades of grey while avoiding dualistic thinking. We weave the tapestry of the world with many colored threads. That beauty is diminished with either/or thinking.

I think about the future. When we care for the world, the air, the water, we will preserve the world for future generations. No one wants to breathe dirty air nor drink contaminated water. Which candidate will promote healthy development so that the future is better for all? We know that some resources are non renewable. How are we preparing now for a future without those resources? Which candidates will help us create a better world for the future?

The world I long for, I try to help create everyday, sometimes with more success than others. In addition to the above, I think about rights and responsibilities, the dignity of work, health care, peace, and solidarity with the most vulnerable. My vote can help create that world. I will do my part.

Please do your part and vote your values, hopefully for an inclusive world built on solidarity, love, and hope for all.

Six Months in Quarantine

The COVID-19 quarantine began here in Lima, Peru six months ago, on March 15, 2020. While the restrictions are in a constant ebb and flow, one thing remains clear: The danger is real. Recent data for Peru tell us that almost 750,000 people have tested positive and more than 30,000 have died because of COVID-19. Of course the burden falls heaviest on the impoverished.

Teaching for me is still online. I still don’t like it much when I compare it to teaching in person, but I consider myself extremely lucky that I can work from home and my students can learn from home. In the process, I am learning much about online education and video creation. (I love the creative part of all of this! One of my videos has over 1,400 views!)

What will the future bring? In reality, no one knows. There will be more deaths and more people infected. Eventually a vaccine will prove safe and effective. Eventually more activities will return to nearer-to-normal with increased capacity in restaurants; international flights are scheduled to resume in mid-October.

Is normal, though, what we want? How can we take what we have learned about family time, a slower pace, and cleaner air into the future with us? I hope that we can hang onto the positive changes that this tragedy has brought.

Viktor Frankl reminds us that meaning can be found through love, work and suffering. If we cannot avoid the suffering, perhaps we can find meaning in it, if we are open to doing so. This pandemic has caused much suffering. I truly hope that we can find meaning in the suffering and make improvements in our lives and in the world. May the new normal be better than the old normal. It is up to us.