Posted by: Ali | October 11, 2009

Ali’s Peruvian Thanksgiving Adventure Part 2 – The Quest for Shortening

Read part 1

Adventure Part Two

The next step in the journey was to find shortening, or, failing that, find an acceptable substitute.  First, I looked it up in the dictionary.  No luck, but there was a word for “shorten”.  Somehow I don’t think shortening will be a direct translation.  So I go to Plaza Vea, and go to the baking section, then to the butter section.  In the butter section, I ask for help.  I ask for shortening, then for Crisco, because sometimes they recognize a brand name but not the base item.  The guy, who was stocking shelves, finds a buddy, who comes over and tries to help me.  I explain that I am trying to bake a cake and I need shortening, which is “like butter but different.”  At first he thinks I’m talking about margarine.  Once I explain that I am not, he takes me back to the baking isle and says that “these are the things you use for baking.”  I sigh, thank him, and go investigate the oils.  No luck either.

So I go back to Wong, and repeat the drill.  I notice at Wong they have actual pies for sale, where at Plaza Vea they had only cakes.  So after going through approximately the same process at Wong, I find the frozen food section, and look for a pie shell.  Not happening.  I then go to the bakery counter and start asking the lady that works here if she knows what shortening is in Spanish.  The poor lady became very confused.  I said that I was trying to bake a pie, and that she had pies for sale, and that did she know how to bake?  And that I had a list of ingredients, and that this one is flour, and this one is water, and salt, and I don’t know the last ingredient, and did she know it?

Finally, this lady walks up behind me and asks in English if she can help me.  I am relieved, but dubious about how fluent she is.  So I ask her if she knows what shortening is in Spanish, and she responds that is “manteca” (and butter is “mantequilla”), and she starts asking the lady at the counter if they carried any manteca and where she could find it.  She accompanies me to the correct aisle, asks a guy that works there, and he actually runs off to go get some for me, which is awesome.

At long last, tropical shortening

At long last, tropical shortening

So I have my shortening and triumphantly return home.  Then I check all the rest of the things I might need in the kitchen to find out what I am missing.  The list is extensive: flour, rolling pin, pie tray, waxed paper, and a measuring cup.



Thankfully, Plaza Vea has all my other baking needs.  Except little measuring cups, so doing the spices is going to be tricky.

Kitchen Ali! (Commit this to memory, it may not ever happen again)

Kitchen Ali! (Commit this to memory, it may not ever happen again)

Pie crust!  More or less finished.

Pie crust! More or less finished.

Continue with part three…


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