Visiting others in their homes is an important part of friendship and relationship here in Peru, and maybe much of Latin America. It is not uncommon to have people drop by for a few minutes or a few hours. Typically I have something freshly baked to offer and occasionally I have to run down to the tienda, the corner store, to buy some coke and cookies.
When I lived in the United States, I thought of myself as hospitable. I enjoyed inviting people over and even hosted Secret Wednesday Night Dinners for the few and the chosen. (That’s for another day and another time though.) Dinner parties at my apartment were both formal and informal, but always fun.
Since moving to Peru, I have learned that hospitality is not always on my terms. In fact being truly hospitable often means attending to guests when I have several things to do and I am somewhat forced to stop and sit with them. Here, it is not uncommon for your guest to arrive bearing some sort of gift. I have gotten bread, trinkets and ice cream from visitors.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet the new wife of a pastor that we have worked with for awhile. She is Colombian and has been here in Peru for only three months. We were invited to their home for lunch and I was happy to have an opportunity to make and take something to share. As a guest, I did not want to arrive with empty arms.
Since this was my first time meeting her and her Colombian friend, I wanted to be sure what I made was not too complicated. I hate to arrive at a home and ask for a lot, “Can you put this in the fridge?” “Do you have plates to serve this on?” “Can you lend me a knife?” and on and on. Especially when going to a house for the first time, I like to share something that comes in individual servings – cupcakes, cookies. In this case, I chose to combine a sweet treat, manjar blanco, with salty peanuts.
- 400 grams of manjar blanco
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 2 tablespoons of Nesquik
- 1 cup of chopped peanuts
- In a medium saucepan, combine the manjar blanco, butter and Nesquik. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture you begin to see the bottom of the pan while stirring, about 20 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a square baking dish, coated with cooking spray to cool until pliable, about 20 minutes.
- Form small balls with wet hands and roll in chopped peanuts.