This is my top 1 comfort food. Not only because it has the characteristics that describe this kind of food (soft and simple), but because my mom has been cooking it forever. Preparing and eating this dish is like traveling the 12,812 kilometers between here and Lima, even when it does not taste the same as mom’s.
When I was a kid my mom would prepared the mash using boiled yellow potatoes (which have the ideal texture and flavour for this side). A few years later, when she had loads of work and not much time to cook, she switched to instant potato puree, basically dehydrated potato flakes that you add to a mixture of boiled water, milk and butter, and fold until creamy. We ate it until we claimed the unprocessed mashed potatoes back, and she agreed to switch back to the real deal.
Mom’s roasted chicken, simply seasoned with soy sauce, garlic and butter, has an amazing taste that I haven’t been able to duplicate yet. She cooks it with the skin on, and it becomes deliciously crunchy, to the point that I always end up eating the thing even when I usually don’t like it.
I’ve cooked this dish a few times, always with skinless chicken breasts and sometimes wrapped in foil to keep them from getting dry. Of course the flavour is different, but it’s still tasty and a healthier.
Last month my friend Nestor came back from a trip to Lima and gave me, among other goodies, a bag of instant mashed potatoes. He asked me why did I want it if I could make it here. I was shocked, how could he possibly not realised yet (he has been more than 2 years here) Australian potatoes’ lack of taste? I really don’t know the answer, but when I mentioned the flavour he kind of woke up, agreed with me, and decided to ask his wife, who was still in Lima, to bring some bags for him.
Last Friday I had dinner at home with my sister and Alvaro. Since I spent almost all week with gastritis, soft and simple comfort food is what I needed. Gladys bought chicken wings because there were no breasts or thighs with skin in the supermarket and we proceeded to season them. I set the oven at 180 degrees, and about 20 or 30 minutes later, we noticed that the skin was not crunchy yet, but the wonderful smell told us that the chicken was close to ready. We increased the temperature to 200 first, then to 220 and finally we got some crunchiness, not as much as the one my mom achieves, but fair enough. The mashed potatoes were done in 2 minutes, and they were incredibly delicious. We had a salad of baby spinach and broad beans with a simple vinagrette as a side and ate with pleasure until completely full.