Miracle Sunday

We had a little taste of Lima in Louisville yesterday. The Peruvian members of our parish hoisted the image of Señor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles) and carried it down the street, in keeping with annual tradition (in Peru).

The procession commemorates the famous Lima earthquake of 1746 which destroyed virtually the entire city — except — the wall upon which this image was painted. So every year in October, the month of the quake, fellows in purple robes carry this image through the city of Lima in remembrance of the miracle. Here in Louisville they carried it about six blocks because that thing is heavy, heavy, heavy and we have only so many Peruvians to do the lifting.

Afterwards there was some delightful entertainment involving a woman in bare feet and a dancing horse (paso fino I think it’s called?). The horse had a gait I’d never seen before. It produced a rapid clickety-clackety-clickety-clackety sound on the pavement. I’d never get near a fast dancing horse in bare feet I can tell you. But she did and I liked it.

Anyway, once tradition had been honored we headed to the parish hall for chicken. I have no idea what that yellow sauce was but on a potato it was heaven. I didn’t get the name of any of the pastries because there was too much hubbub, but I tried everything I could get my hands on. Except the alfajores, I was too slow, dangit.

This tasted like flan on top of chocolate cake:

This was a bread pudding:

And this, well, I have no idea. A sponge cake and fruit gelatin extravaganza it was. Fabulous.

Our parish is heavily hispanic. People there come from all over the Spanish-speaking world: Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Cuba you name it. So hardly anyone there was familiar with this Peruvian tradition, but let’s face it, what was not to like? After the food was gone the dancing started. The music combined some Peruvian dance music with our usual parish party mix of ranchera and American country. What a party. America, I love ya.

16 thoughts on “Miracle Sunday”

  1. Yes. That is a Paso Fino. I used to ride them and Tennessee Walking Horses. The sensation of riding them is different from most riding horses. It’s like the difference between a rocking chair (regular horses) and a glider (gaited horses). To continue the metaphor, riding a draft horse (horses meant for pulling) is like an ever-so-slightly wobbling desk chair. If the owner of the paso offers rides, I’d highly recommend it.

    1. Fascinating. I was really something to watch (and hear). Thanks, Alex!

      – Joe

  2. Hey Joe- What a wonderful celebration! That yellow sauce is called Crema de aji amarillo (Yellow pepper sauce) and a recipe can be found here: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/saladssidedishes/r/ajiamarillo.htm. That flan and chocolate cake is called (are you ready?) Chocoflan. Even Cook’s Country is in on that one. They featured it on the cover of an issue this past year. But the REAL Latin American extravaganza is that sponge cake and gelatin number. Made me homesick for Panama. Can you tell us how to do that?

    1. Woohoo! Thanks, Melinda!

      And how out of it am I that I never heard of chocoflan? Thanks for the tip!

      If I can get the name of that thing I’ll try it. Any idea?

      – Joe

      1. Easy peasy. Just ask the folks who put the food for the celebration together. They will tell you the name and the baker. And then you can just call up and rave about it and they will share the recipe! (I can hardly believe that I am telling a marketing person about networking. Reminds me of a story – my nephew, who is a private investigator in another state, lost my phone #. He went through a who trail of relatives to get the number and then call me. It never occurred to him to look in the business listings. Is this a guy thing?)

        1. A guy thing indeed!

          I’ll see who I can find at mass this weekend, Melinda! Honestly I didn’t recognize a lot of the Peruvians who were there for the fiesta. Some of them might have been imported!


          – Joe

  3. Hi Joe!

    The yellow sauce on the potatoes was probably Huancaína, made from blending Peruvian yellow pepper, queso fresco, milk, and crackers. It really is delicious and pretty easy to make.

    The traditional dessert of Señor de los Milagros and the month of October in Peru is turrón de Doña Pepa, which is a unique cake made from layering anise flavored hard cookies with honey or molasses. It’s perfect with a cup of coffee!

    Thanks for all the great recipes, Joe!

    1. Excellent, Laura, thank you. I appreciate the insight. I must have been at the back of the line in more ways than one because no one offered me any turrón. But then my Spanish is terrible and I wouldn’t have known to ask for it. May have to make that as well!


      – Joe

  4. I’m guessing that the mystery dessert is torta helada – at least the google images match. Sounds very tasty!

  5. Not sure if crema de aji amarillo and salsa a la Huancaina are one and the same, but they are surely both intended to be served on top of papas which is glaringly absent from your plate! Shame on you! 😀

    I grow aji Peruano in my garden because, well, there are times when jalapeños just won’t fit the bill. Blended with a little salt and veggie oil and you’re back in Lima.

    I will be anticipating your take on alfajores, the manjar blanco in particular. Don’t take any shortcuts! 😉

    1. What do you think is under that sauce, wey? It’s half a spud, expertly covered. I might be a gringo to my bones, but I know better than to leave a Latino buffet without the starches! 😉

      As for the corner cutting, you know me better than that, don’t you?

      – Joe

    2. Dave, huancaina sauce is with queso fresco, basically cheese sauce, and crema de aji amarilla doesnt have cheese. also, huancaina doesnt have onions, and crema de aji amarillo starts with the usual sofrito of onions and garlic.

  6. Religion + culture + food is a great combination. Despite having a couple of Peruvian friends I’ve never heard of this celebration… due, no doubt, to my presbycusis. Thanks for sharing htis information. I’ll mark my calendar for next year in hopes of finding a local celebration.

    1. I promise you’ll have a good time, Brian. In fact you might be able to find a celebration this weekend if you look around. I’m told the observance can last over the entire last half of the month.

      – Joe

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