Thursday, September 10, 2009



Our Shipibo folks come by boat every day bringing us food. We have one big meal a day which they cook over the fire. Then they leave us with a few things to eat later, so it’s like a two-meal day.

Fish, fish and more fish. And plantain. Here are ways we have eaten plantain, times two depending on whether it is young plaintain (platano) or ripe (maduro). Grilled on the fire in its peel, grilled on the fire without peel, boiled in peel, boiled out of peel, sliced and fried, whole and fried, boiled and mashed, boiled in much water and mashed into a sort of juice with sediment (chappo).

Fish is of many types, mostly small. On my first day, they cut the head off for me and told Maggie to show me how to eat it. They no longer bother cutting off the heads. Much of the time, the fish is grilled whole over the fire. One day they made a great fish meal of fillets, stuffed with tomato, peppers, and onions and cilantro, wrapped in a banana leaf and tied with palm-like strips. The result was exquisite.

Rice comes with most meals. Sometimes beans. It hasn’t been too much of a problem, but occasionally they feed me fish fried in flour. (I'm allergic to wheat.)

Fruits have been really varied. I’ve had at least 5 fruits that I’ve never seen before. My favorite looks superficially like a fig, but it has more sour notes, chambers inside, and large black seeds. There are tiny red apples that come from a desert area of Peru. And bananas of many colors. Another day they show up with oranges. How boring!

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