Honeymoon With A Chef

“Augh! Only 7 more hours til BBQ!”

We rolled into Tilcara, a tiny Argentinian village 3 hours south of the Bolivian border, to find a happy trio sitting around the table, eating copious amounts of gourmet-looking pasta, and raving about how they couldn’t stop eating despite how full they were.  Yes, the trio was the honeymooning couple Mike and Laura, and their recent travelling buddy and chef extraordinaire (he literally studied food engineering) Eddy. Long story short, our one night stay in Tilcara turned into 3, and the blame rests firmly on the shoulders of these three.

Laura, the half-french half dutch blonde regaled us with stories of their travels thus far, watching our eyes grow big with excitement when she described the awesomeness that was their time in Bolivia.  She also became an expert Perudo player overnight, and taught us that it is really impossible to tell when the dutch are lying.  Mike showed us his true mettle when he nearly melted after eating a Locoto, a super spicy Bolivian pepper.  He also disappeared around the corner to emerge covered in coal, with a raging fire going for the BBQ.  Eddy, in between emphasizing every statement with a very loud ‘augh!’ spent the little time that he wasn’t cooking dreaming and talking about cooking. He taught us the word Aubergine, german for eggplant, and that rapidly became the new nickname for this long-haired crazy.  Besides making two epic BBQ meals at the hostel, we hiked up to Garganta de Diablo and took a very crowded bus over to Pumamarca to see the hill of seven colors. Thanks to their input, we have added the Potosi Mine, The Death Road, and Rurrenembaque (Bolivian Amazon) to our list of destinations.

We head north, they head south, though we plan too look each other up if we are ever in each other’s home countries. Such is the way of making friends while traveling.


One thought on “Honeymoon With A Chef

  1. Richard Littauer (@richlitt)

    Aubergine is also the British English word for eggplant. It comes from French. Kind of interesting, actually, as eggplant comes from 18th century cultivars that were pale and looked egg-like, apparently, which must have made it to the US before being replaced by the dark-purple cultivars. I wonder when that was. Another similar case of the US being weird for names of vegetables is the British English courgette (French origin) – US English zucchini (Italian origin).

    Since Jonathan wanted inappropriate comments, I should say that I recently learned that the Maltese word for aubergine is xatra-mbatra, which according to the Aquilina 1990 dictionary is more technically ‘a dried long gourd formerly served to break wind into when in bed to prevent the stink spreading.’ Comes from the Sicilian sciàtara-e-màtara, from arabic ‘shatiru ya matara. Means literally something like ‘Oh god, he did it’, or ‘Oh dear god.’ What’s even more bizarre is that 18th century Sicilian used sciàtara-e-màtara as a euphemism for buttocks, but the author to a preamble to an actually quite tasty-looking eggplant sandwich recipe I found much of this information in didn’t make the connection. Probably a good thing.

    Sadly, I have yet to see eggplant used in this way.


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