My zeal for incorporating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and grains in my food stems from Bolivia, the land of my birth, and from my mother. Add to that a serious amount of reading on food and health.[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”left” source_author=”Andrew Weil, M.D.” source_title=”The Healthy Kitchen” affiliate_link=”http://amzn.to/1Qcd1AU” full_quote=”Each time we eat, we have an opportunity to nourish the body, delight the sense, and calm the mind. It is a shame to waste those opportunities by eating food that is neither healthful nor delicious.” short_quote=”Each time we eat, we have an opportunity to nourish the body”]
My family roots in the Cochabamba valley date to the founding of the Republic of Bolivia in 1825. The agricultural fertility of this valley made it important to two empires,—its diversity of potatoes, corn, fruits, and vegetables is almost beyond belief.
When the silver mines of Potosi gave it a population larger than London or Paris in the 17th century and produced extraordinary wealth for the Spanish Empire, it was Cochabamba that produced the wheat, corn, fruit and vegetables for its consumption.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores, Cochabamba was important to the Incan Empire (that reached from Ecuador to Argentina) for its rich agricultural production. Evidence of human settlement stretches extends way back to the Neolithic period, demonstrating the agricultural advantages of this valley.
Within Bolivia, Cochabamba is famous for its delicious food. And rumor has it that the open-air market in this city of eternal spring is the largest in the world. Just an aisle of potatoes is a marvel to walk through—a fascinating array of shapes and colors with an extraordinary diversity of taste and texture, more than 300 species. The fruit section is a photographer’s delight, indescribable colors and shapes.
Growing up in my beloved Cochabamba, lunch always began with soup, made with homemade stock, grains and fresh vegetables, followed by Segundo (second dish), usually a portion of meat (generally beef, chicken or pork), a side of potato or rice (often both!, a quirk of Bolivian food) and a salad of lettuce and tomatoes.[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”David Heber, M.D.” source_title=”What Color is Your Diet?” affiliate_link=”http://amzn.to/1Qcdd3g” full_quote=”Each colored fruit or vegetable provides a unique benefit to the diet, so you don’t want to eat only fruits and vegetables of a single color. Each fruit or vegetable—whether red, yellow, green or purple—provides a benefit that is sometimes concentrated in a particular part of the body or uses a specific pathway within your body to provide its healthful effects.” short_quote=”Each colored fruit or vegetable provides a unique benefit to the diet”]
My mother was from legendary Salzburg, Austria. Her Austrian school education included thorough training in culinary arts. Her ability and activity in the kitchen was a childhood cornerstone and shaped my own aptitude and enjoyment in the kitchen. To this day, cooking connects me with my mother, whom I miss madly although she’s been gone more than twenty years.
Austria’s rich cuisine results from its history as a multi-national empire, where numerous cultures contributed their own nuances. Daily meals traditionally are also based on fresh, seasonal produce and characterized by diversity: broth based soups and hearty stews, roasted meats in cream sauces, tasty dumplings, warm and cold salads and a heavenly array of scrumptious pastries.
Childhood memories intertwine food, family love, and happiness. My exuberant enthusiasm for feeding everyone who comes into our home surely comes from Abita, my paternal grandmother who gathered her five children and their families every Sunday afternoon for tea.
My wish is to pass on the pleasure of good food colored by fruits and vegetables that also contributes to good health. And that it be enjoyed in the company of those you love.
Dive into the recipes, try out the menus, and cultivate health and happiness through good eating!