Meal Plan; 1 – 5 August

For no apparent reason, other than it is the first week of August, I’m dedicating this week’s meal plan to Chile. It is a land of immense deep history and colorful flavors.

People who know me and have read my stories will know that my beautiful wife is from Chile. She often speaks of the excellent dishes and flavors from her birth country, one of the longest countries in the World.

She rarely (never) cooks any of these memorable meals except for some empanadas based on her mum’s recipe when we went on road trips while living in Ireland.

It is time for me to test my skills and impress the South American flower.

Hopefully, I’ll make my wife proud and can provide her with some culinary journey back to her birth country.

Chile’s Land

Let’s dance on the land of Chile

Lovely as Rachel, as Leah,

the land that breeds a people

sweet of heart and speech

The greenest land witg gardens,

the fairest land with wheat,

the reddest land with vineyards,

the gentlest to our feet!

Gabriela Mistral – 1889-1957

The Chilean Connection

No, it is not the Texan flag!

Chile has been settled for over 10,000 years, with influences from ancient kingdoms like Inca, Maya, and Aztecs. However, the original Chilean people were never as organized and consistent as many smaller tribes. Instead, they fought back fiercely against invading nations and kingdoms; even the Spanish were pushed back bravely but lost in the end.

Chile was discovered in the early to mid-1500s by the Spanish, Valdivia, who quickly claimed it. Valdivia was killed by another Spanish guy who switched sides and saw the Spanish conquerors as evil. According to myths and stories, Valdivia joined the afterlife by being forced to drink molten gold. Evil feckers!

Chile spent the next 300 years on Spanish rule until a wealthy landowner with Spanish-Basque and Irish ancestry. Basque-Irish, a combination of a fighting spirit, rejects any authority from outsiders. His name was Bernardo O’Higgins, and he had Sligo roots.

Mr. O’Higgins assembled a small army, started the Chilean war of Independence, and succeeded in his quest. The war began in 1817. It took less than a year to claim victory, and O’Higgins became the first ruler of Chile.

Did you know this about Chile?

Chilean Food Adventure

Given Chile’s extended coastline, it is logical that seafood plays an integral part in the Chilean kitchen and is mixed with excellent products from a deep history of agriculture.

The Spanish brought livestock and wine to the remote region, enhancing and influencing the Chilean cuisine.

Stews play a vital role in the kitchen, and everything from vegetables to meat to poultry to seafood gets put into a rich stew with potatoes and served with bread.

Going back to Chile

I cannot wait until we visit Chile in 2023 to celebrate my wife’s 50th birthday. But unfortunately, she has not returned since her family left under challenging circumstances in 1973.

There is so much to experience in the long land of Chile. I’ve always dreamt of walking next to the giant heads on the Easter Islands.

Imagine walking through the colorful town of Valparaiso, hiking in the desert and mountains, witnessing the fantastic landscapes, and eating all kinds of rich vegetables with beautiful fish caught by the locals.

It will be fantastic to see Santiago, where my wife was born, and perhaps trace down some of her relatives that stayed through the bad times of Pinochet’s regime.

Sit in the famous square while drinking locally-made wines, while we explore the historical sites, meet people, and learn new things.

We miss traveling the World, and this will be an excellent way to get back to see the World.

The Chilean kitchen – my way

Sorry about the glare

As previously stated, the theme of the week is the Chilean kitchen.

To prepare authentic Chilean meals, I invested in a new cookbook called “The Chilean Kitchen” by Pilar Hernandez. Many mouth-watering recipes with straightforward instructions.

What could go wrong?

For obvious reasons, I will not be able to source too many products from the rich agricultural fields or the seafood from the South Pacific ocean. However, I hope our local supermarket can offer some suitable vegetables and meat.

Tomatoes, onions, and cumin appear in most dishes for some reason.

Cooking all these dishes on a warm Sunday afternoon made me very hungry. I can’t wait to test these recipes and hope the family will enjoy the new flavors.

I include a few snacks for the kids to spice up their lunch boxes and hope they turn out well. To test my baking skills, I’m attempting to make Pan de Huevo (egg buns) and Queque de Higos (fig bundt cake). I’ll let you know how it goes.

MondaySandwich de Miga ave pimentón
(chicken sandwich)
Tallarines con Palta
(Noodles with avocado pesto)
TuesdaySandwich de Miga pasta de jamon
(ham sandwich)
(tomato, onion, and steak)
(farmer steak sandwich)
Berenjenas Rellenas
(stuffed eggplants with ground beef)
ThursdayEmpanadas de Pino
(beef empanadas)
Picante de Camarones
(tomato shrimp stew)
FridayEmpanadas de Pino
(beef empanadas)
Grilling some Chilean-inspired meat

One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!

Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.

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