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Panaderia Canadiense

Ecuador During a State of Emergency - Surfing the Shortages

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Hello again from south of the equator!  As you may or may not have heard (because the international news media isn't really giving the situation much coverage), Ecuador is in the grip of a major social protest movement.  This started on October 1, when fuel subsidies in the country were abruptly struck causing the prices of gasoline and diesel to more than double overnight.  Transport and heavy haulage unions immediately went on strike, and blocked the main roads of the cities with their vehicles in protest.  The indigenous movements of the central Sierra, beginning in my province, Tungurahua, joined the strike on October 2, and the President quickly declared a State of Emergency that restricts movement, freedom of the press, and freedom association.  The indigenous took over the road blockades on October 3, cutting the cities off from the world; Ambato became an island overnight.

 

It is now October 8, one week into the blockades.  Shortages in the fresh markets and supermarkets began on Sunday, as people realized that we were in for a long-haul of protest and possibly an overthrow of the sitting government.  Ecuador's indigenous have a long history of deposing governments in this way, and it's not a fast process.

 

I'll be blogging informally throughout the National Strike, to document how the inevitable food shortages affect the city and my own table. 

 

These first pictures are from Sunday, October 6.  In the Mercado Mayorista, a place I've always taken you along to when I've blogged from Ambato, the cement floors of the naves are visible in places where they have never, in my experience, been exposed.  The fresh corn nave is all but abandoned - this is because all of the corn in the city's stock has been sold.  I'll remind you: a nave in this market is about a thousand square metres of space.  This is also missing the big trucks that come to trade fresh grains in the parking lot, because they couldn't make it through the roadblocks.  Most of the Mayorista is in the same situation - stocks are selling off fast.

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The supermarkets are even more dire.  The meat coolers are completely empty, and the produce shelves are diminishing quickly.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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And here we are on Tuesday, 8 October.  I went back to that supermarket in the hopes that some meat had maybe materialized.... It hadn't.  I've got stock in my freezer for about three weeks of meals; I've currently got a houseguest / refugee from the US staying with me - she was trapped by the strike, and I'm cooking for four.

 

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What you see at the extreme bottom are the last two packets of chicken livers and gizzards, which I forwent because I'm not super fond of livers.  Staff inform me that the meat case in this market won't be restocked until after the strike ends, since their supply chain is in the next province, across six roadblocks.

 

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The fresh produce section now contains a weird mix of specialty fruits and vegetables - Peruvian ají, grapefruits, chayote, scrapie, eggplants, beans in shell, and purple sweet potatoes.  The roll shutters block off half of the stand, because it's empty and they're not anticipating that it will be restocked.

 

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And this one's even emptier - the plantains are gone, and there are only a few oranges left, along with firewood for your barbecue (and not much of that.). You can also see that sodas are starting to diminish as compared to Sunday.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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No - news hound that I am - nope! I just mentioed you in a food place as an  inspration! (Dia de Los Muertos) We are here as best we can. Love  ya !I Is Jose there (World Central Kitchen)  ?


Edited by heidih (log)
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Wow. I had heard about the end of the fuel subsidies but not about the following strikes and shortages. What happens if the strikes go on longer than people's food stocks? Do lots of people have weeks worth of food in the freezer like you do?

 

What I don't understand about the strikes is that it seems that the people hurt the worst by them (everyone running out of food) have nothing to do with the cause of the strikes.

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All I could read about the situation today was a NY Times story.

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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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3 hours ago, KennethT said:

What happens if the strikes go on longer than people's food stocks? Do lots of people have weeks worth of food in the freezer like you do?

 

What I don't understand about the strikes is that it seems that the people hurt the worst by them (everyone running out of food) have nothing to do with the cause of the strikes.

 

Well... I'm originally from Northern Canada. I habitually prepare to be snowed in, even when I'm living somewhere that it doesn't snow! This means that I have a lot more stock layed in than the average Ecuadorian family - the philosophy here is that one can always get fresh ingredients, so why worry about holding anything?

 

If the strikes go on past the end of the he food stocks? It's already happened in Cuenca, about 6 hours south of me. The military had been flying in a C-130 (Hercules) full of staple food and basic supplies in a daily run; they'll do the same for us. Rationing will go into effect at the same time.

 

This short term hardship is understood by just about everybody in the country over the age of 25 as a necessary measure to effect gravely needed social change. So people essentially come together as communities, tighten their belts, and endure.


Edited by Panaderia Canadiense Egregious typos (log)
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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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@Panaderia Canadiense I'd read nothing of this news.  I pray the social situation resolves quickly.  You are in my prayers.

 

My thoughts turn back to the siege of Paris when guests at the American embassy were dining on canned lobster.

 

 

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Here's dinner - cooking during a shortage is generally simple fare whose leftovers can form the foundation of future meals.  In this case, roasted chicken breast, scalloped potatoes, and steamed beets and greens.

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The bones from the chicken breast, along with the drippings, go into the freezer for soup base. The potatoes will be incorporated into a locro, and any leftover beets will go to borscht.

 

The idea is to plan meals with as little waste as possible; our trimmings and peels (as everyone else's in the Barrio) are going to feed my downhill neigbours' pigs, which we may wind up eating as a community, near the end of the month if the situation doesn't improve.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Thinking of you every day, my friend!  It is interesting to see a place where the people have a long view instead of just worrying about their immediate situation.  I understand that things change when actual starvation looms, but it is heartening all the same.

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6 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

I understand that things change when actual starvation looms, but it is heartening all the same.

 

This is going to be really interesting, because Ambato is uniquely prepared for a siege of this kind. It's unlikely that the city will ever face true starvation - most houses have kitchen gardens and there is a huge culture of urban orchards. We might eventually become vegan, but we won't die of that!!!

 

The test is going to be in how well we can pull together as communities to make sure everybody's needs are met.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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@Panaderia Canadiense  Best wishes to you at this time.  You have the right attitude to deal with this; many expats do not.  We have had intermittent shortages of goods and services, and some nasty cartel violence during our years in Mexico, though never a shortage of most foodstuffs simultaneously that you are experiencing.  Like you, we figure if such a strike or stoppage of food deliveries should occur, that the family farms near us would help pick up the slack, though after the prolonged gasoline shortages we experienced last winter we wonder how the produce would get to us, or vice versa.    

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In the hardest of times it is when you see peoples truest colors bloom and shine.

 

Sounds like you are cut from some good quality cloth and have both your family and those around you in mind and in good hands.

 

Best of luck during these trying circumstances & thank you for sharing with us!

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Dear PanaCan,  just read your entry and my sympathies go out to you, your family and your country.  And no, we'd not heard one word of your plight.  all best, Darienne

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Your community and your country will be in my prayers. I'd offer to ship you some dried beans and whatever else could travel easily, but I don't expect the mail would get through, either...

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Oh!!!  I haven't been online or watching TV much (Euro news and BBC news are the go tos here).   I can identify with what you said about how the community will come together for the better of all.   Will keep you, yours and your community in my thoughts and prayers.

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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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So, today was a day for staying in. It's the first official day of the National Strike, in which basically everybody walks off their jobs. My city remains calm, but the indigenous of the high páramos marched in downtown this morning, and a strict curfew is in effect.

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This meant a brunch on fridge-cleanings (aka guess that leftover!) Which was not inspiring, but it was filling, which is more the point. It also freed space in the refrigerator.

 

This afternoon's task was a bit more daunting: before the markets closed their doors on Sunday, I bought an entire 3kg haunch of lamb from Glorita, my favourite butcher. It's time to break this down into meal-sized units, strip off the fat and connective tissue, and basically get it ready for easy meal prep in the coming weeks.

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The little steel bowl is tonight's meal - lamb moussaka. I got four meals out of the haunch: meaty bones for scotch broth, smaller cubes for kebab, and larger chunks for the grill.

 

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The moussaka is on the stove now. I'm doing a stove top version of the dish to conserve gas; the bechamel sauce will be on the side, and I'm serving it with rice.

 

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My freezer still looks good, but one of tomorrow's challenges going to be tomato hunting.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I feel your horror - but am now lamb obscessed - minds are strange...  Goat on my mind also. Beef and chicken can take a long vacation ;)


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1 hour ago, Panaderia Canadiense said:

I have a big ol' bag of goat in the freezer!!! It's destined for an encocão.

 

What happens to your freezer when someone turns off the electricity?

 

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8 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

What happens to your freezer when someone turns off the electricity?

 

 

I bring my backup generator online. It's Eolic; I don't need to worry about fuel for it that way.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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