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The decision was between seeing the traditional celebration in Quito of  Viernes Santo, the procession of Christ

Passion Play in Guayllabamba

going to the cross, or joining Grace’s greater family to make Fanesca a traditional soup for Good Friday.   No contest!  Who could miss being with Grace and being a part of a such a true cultural experience.  Her exchange family has been welcoming in every way.

Preparing the dried fish for the Fanesca

When we arrived in Guayllabamba at 10:30 a.m., la madre had been working for over four hours and had  assembled many ingredients for             the soup.  The vegetables were minced.  A broth was waiting.  The variety of beans were already cooked.  The calabasa was on the stove.   A small variety of Andean potatoes were steamed and ready to be minced.  And the Chochos (small white legumes?)

were waiting for final prep (by popping them individually from an opaque skin),  As far as I could see, every part of this recipe was time consuming and labor intensive.  And there were plenty of laborers.

                                                                                  From the creation of Empañadas de Queso to the pulsing of 3 cups of garlic cloves, members of the family were there to lend a hand.

The young children did their part or ran through the house laughing and asking for limonada or a hug from one of the parents or abuelitas.

Making Fanesca together as a family is as much the tradition as eating this hearty dish.

Fanesca, topped with empañadas, fried plantain, boiled eggs, a sprig of parsley and served with avocados

Therefore, it was a convivial group who gathered at the table to eat the heaping bowls of soup.

Thanks to Grace’s family for including us in this wonderful family day in Ecuador.

                                                                                BTW…Quito had nothing on Guayllabamba.  Altars decorated the sides of the road where

Woman with her altar in Guayllabamba

“Jesus” walked.  When we took a quick break from the cooking to walk to la iglesia, we joined a large crowd to watch  a well-acted  reenactment of the crucifixion.