Ecuador

A note on Ecuadorian food

1) It´s mouth-watering. All of it.

2) Every Ecuadorian lunch and dinner (at least in the mountains, where we are) begins with a soup: potato soup, pumpkin soup, something-called-Habas soup, plantain soup. One generalyl begins by blending the base starch or vegetable, then adding the deliciousness as you boil.

3) Following whatever filling soup you just had will be a plate of rice-and-something, the `something` generally absent from whatever Spanish Dictionary you brought, and often accompanied by some hunk of meat. Occasionally that something is fried bananas or avocados, my personal favorites.

4) If you`re lucky enough to live in a real-live Ecuadorian rural home (as I am) all meals are also accompanied by either a juice or shake made from one of the fresh fruits just picked from the garden out back. Thus far, my favorite is `jugo de tomate de arbol,`or `tree tomato juice.` God only knows what it is, but it beats the hell out of Smoothie Shack.

5) If you`re unlucky, your food may also come with a side of some character-building illness, which I was able to avoid for a full week. I lost the race yesterday, however, and have spent Ecuador`s independence day convalescing rather than celebrating.

6) It`s mouth-watering. All of it except the illnesses, of course. And totally worth it.

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