Ugh, green smoothies. Like what’s new, right? So how about some Brazilian love, exotic fruit and samba grooves to welcome Spring and reboot your green smoothie routine? I just spent a week in Brazil visiting friends and working long-distance, and I had forgotten just how amazing the options of available fresh fruit juices and smoothies was there! Papaya and mango are like currency in this country, and forget about the insane amount of fruit you can squeeze into your happy hour Caipirinhas, from acerola to pineapple, passion fruit and cashew fruit. And man did I drink the life out of all the coconuts while I was there. I used to buy a fresh green coconut every day from a street vendor by my house who would crack it open with an actual machete and sip on it on my way to classes. Ah heaven. And just in general, I realized going back how much I had underestimated Brazil’s level of development when I lived there. I suppose I needed to go live in Peru to actually appreciate the level of comfort and the modernity of services available in Sao Paulo. I almost cried when I jumped into a taxi with a GPS or opened a restaurant menu with an actual salad section. It was really nice to go back for a few days. Now I’m in Lima for a week before going back to Cajamarca, which is cool because I never really got to discover Lima. I have been to Lima a few times but I always passed by for a couple of days or less when travelling to somewhere else and never had time to discover it though I know it’s an amazing city.
It’s already the end of the year and I can’t frickin believe it! One year ago, though it seems like yesterday, I was starting research for my thesis here with gleaming eyes and high aspirations as I took my first steps in the unknown yet exciting world of academic research. I wanted to write a paper that would change the world and uncover some kind of shattering truth (as it so often happens when you study smallholder agriculture right?), go on the field and bring back ground-breaking data, roll up my sleeves and argue with top researchers, basically do all those crazy things that hot, glamorous academic scholars do. Twelve strenuous months later, the only ground-breaking truth I discovered is that probably no-one will have the slightest interest in reading 200 pages on how to create commitment in buyer-supplier relationships linking private multinationals to smallholder farmers in Brazil (I know, crazy!) and the only arguing I saw was a tepid discussion on the premises of game theory between a Danish scholar and an Argentinean economist. I also discovered the less than glamorous reality of “no-that-person-that-you-emailed-three-weeks-ago-and-who-is-a-key-informant-for-your-topic-does-not-give-a-rat’s-ass-about-your-research” and “it’s-been-a-month-since-you’ve-submitted-it-and-your-advisor-still-hasn’t-opened-your-thesis”. After all of that, and loving almost every second of it regardless, I am proud to say that I have finished my thesis, submitted it, defended it and been approved. Yay! I’m officially done with my master’s and it’s as much a relief as it is scary. There are so many things happening and changes coming, and I can’t wait to tell you about them, but I need to leave some suspense for future posts. Continue reading
How was everybody’s Halloween and morning-after sugar crash? We had a Halloween party over at our spooky haunted-looking house. Come on now, fess up – what’s your secret number? Mine is 4. As in 2 pieces of delicious carrot cake topped with coconut cream cheese frosting (I promise to share the recipe) and 2 bite-sized coconut chocolate brownies. All gluten-free, all somewhat paleo, all definitely faithful to the traditions of this sweet and sugary holiday. Oh well. Since I’ve never been a candy person, staying away from the lollipops and butter toffees was no problem for me. Staying away from the peanuts on the other hand… peanuts and me are a whole other story. I bought some raw peanuts and roasted, salted and curried them in the oven for our Halloween party that night. How could I resist that? There are a few things in life that I can’t just stop at one. Or fifteen. Peanuts, chocolate covered raisins, cherry tomatoes and episodes of Californication. Continue reading
My roommate and I have this ritual when we’re deciding on something we want to eat, which consists in enumerating all the adjectives we can think of that best describe what we’re in the mood for, each new one outbidding the previous one. Generally these adjectives, which in the spirit of fun often border on saucy, speak for themselves : when we’re talking about making a mouth-watering, juicy, squeezy (“wait what?? that’s not even a food word!”. I know, but this one is our favorites…), plump, marinated, chicken, we’re already mentally tasting it. Kind of like a food foreplay if you will: instead of an appetizer, we like to create salivating mental images. Continue reading