If I had to pick, I’d have to say that autumn is my favorite season. (But the great thing about living in a place where they change is that you don’t have to choose). Corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin picking, apple cider, Halloween, apple picking, Thanksgiving, Friday night football games, cranberry picking, Christmas tree cutting, St. Nicholas Day, Advent’s calendars, and lots and lots of food and family. It sucks to be missing all of that this year in this region of eternal summerspring, but Quito is not without its own charms.
This week: a few trips to the mall (I went to Supermaxi, what a surprise, right? Something I found hilarious though: the drug store section at one Supermaxi has a counter with higher end makeup locked up, aside from what they have on the shelves. And apparently in Ecuador Dior and Revlon share the same status (what?!) since they were right next to each other in the case).
I also saw Mockingjay (!) with Jenny and Luiza on its opening night. SLFJDASLKFJADSKLFJ. That’s how I felt about it.
Quito at night, taken from my friend’s loft apartment during her 17th birthday party
After lunch with my host parents last Sunday we drove south to the Panecillo, the hill in the middle of Quito with the Virgin Mary atop it. Quito is… immense. We then went to Itchimbía, another hill in Quito overlooking El Centro that’s topped by El Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace). These places and their views make it hard not to fall in love with this ancient city.
I live almost directly south of the equator, in the northern sector of the city, an important distinction. I’ve never been to the south (below the Panecillo), and it’s much more dangerous than the north. But on an everyday basis I can only view the northern side, and itself is awe-inspiring in its size. The south is just as big, and extends as far as you can see.
Thursday I skipped school to celebrate that oh-so-American holiday with four of my favorite gringas. We weren’t able to figure out a way to watch the parade (and were too exhausted to even try to find football), but we cooked an incredible amount of food for five people (my fridge is currently overflowing with leftovers). The pile of dishes was frightening.
Some (okay most) of the attempted recreations of Thanksgiving classics failed, but hey, we tried. And had a wonderful day doing it. Our meal ended up being a mix of American dishes with an accidental Ecuadorian spin, based on the ingredients we had access to. And this cornbread made an appearance.
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal/cornflour
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/3 cup oat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup canola oil OR melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar OR white vinegar
Preheat your oven to 350 F/175 C and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking pan. Whisk together all dry ingredients, and then add all wet ingredients EXCLUDING the vinegar and thoroughly combine. Add the vinegar, stirring quickly, pour into the baking pan, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When a toothpick comes out clean you’re done! Let it cool slightly to avoid crumbling when cutting.
Notes: This cornbread is quite sweet, but it doesn’t hold together well or taste good if you cut down on the sugar. If you would like to replace the 1/4 cup applesauce with an extra 1/4 cup oil, go for it, but don’t replace the oil with the applesauce.