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Goshen College students share Peru experience through cookbook

After spending a semester in Peru, two Goshen College students are spreading their love of Peruvian cuisine through a cookbook they created.

Gretchen Geyer and Jake Smucker, both seniors, went to Peru for a Goshen College study-service term this spring. While there, they spent time cooking and eating popular local dishes — and enjoying the way food brings people together.

“In Peru, you always welcome everyone in your house when you are making food — there was never a question of if there was going to be enough,” Geyer said. “Even with little financial resources, they made it work.”

Geyer spent part of the trip cooking meals daily for a group of local children at a church soup kitchen, where she learned many local recipes. For her final project, she compiled some of those recipes and pictures she had taken of the food.  

When many of her fellow students and others at Goshen College asked for a copy, Smucker offered to design an actual cookbook.

He spent the summer designing the book, and the college’s printing and mailing department printed it at Geyer’s request.

The students have sold nearly 200 copies so far, and they are donating the proceeds to El Comedor Luz y Vida, the church kitchen in Peru where Geyer worked.

“(The project) has far exceeded our expectations for how much interest we’ve gotten,” Smucker said.

Geyer has even mailed copies of the cookbook to people from Nebraska, Oregon and Washington D.C.

To purchase a copy of the cookbook, Los Sabores del Peru, email Geyer at or Smucker at The students are asking for a $10 donation.

Here’s one of the recipes featured in the book, a favorite of both Geyer and Smucker.

Lomo Saltado

Cook in large wok on medium-high temperature:

  • 1 onion, large chunks
  • 1 pound tenderloin, chopped to bite size
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Add and cook until tender:

  • 1 hot pepper, small chunks
  • 2 tomatoes, small chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste

Serve over Papas Fritas (French fries)

Papas Fritas

  1. Wash and peel 6 potatoes. Cut into ¼-inch strips.
  2. Fill pan with ½ inch oil and heat on high.
  3. Add potatoes and fry until golden brown; add salt.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

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