I stepped out of the taxi and immediately knew I had been duped. I showed him the translation, exactly as written in Susan’s email and he dropped me about 12 blocks away. Great. A few minutes later and questions to locals helped me figure out which way I needed to walk. After about 5 minutes, which got my appetite working, I came upon her condo building and was permitted to enter. Last time Kim and I were in Cuenca we were going to take Susan Schenck’s Raw Foods Cooking class, but we missed it. I was bound and determined to take it this time and had communicated several emails to her about what I would like to see on the menu, after she inquired what I would fancy.
After all the other 8 people arrived Susan began and started making the “Raw” ice cream she had on the menu, as it would take about 20 minutes to freeze. It was entitled “French Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Swirl”. She blended 6 raw eggs, the Omega-3 kind and several other ingredients together and placed it in the freezer for solidification. It appeared very yummy and knowing the ingredients, my tastebuds were prepped. Besides who doesn’t like ice cream? She then gave a 10 minute talk on the benefits of a “Raw Diet”.
Susan next had several students chop broccoli, onions, etc for the “California Broccoli Salad”. She blended several ingredients from slivered almonds to dehydrated beef and put the items together and tossed them in two large bowls. Yours truly had one bowl and did a decent mixing job, as illustrated above. This was our first item and I can’t tell you how tasty this salad was. It made my taste buds come alive and I ate a large plate and went back for seconds. It was a meal in itself.
By this time the ice cream was ready and everybody had a bowl with the chocolate sauce made from “Raw” Cacao powder. If I had known ahead of time I could have brought some of my left over Cacao paste and used it. The ice cream would not set and was more of a milkshake texture. Susan thought it was the altitude maybe. It was still very good and I cleaned my bowl and went back for seconds (notice a pattern starting?).
Our final course was a “Tilapia Ceviche”. All the three courses had avocado in them, which was my original request. The fish has to be marinated from 4 to 8 hours for the lime juice to actually “cook” the fish and remove the parasites (not sure if this is true or just a “saying”). I love ceviche and in this part of the world it is very plentiful. Every country and area prepares it a little different and has their own ingredients. This was excellent and truly delicious. So much so that I believe I am going to use the frozen Mahi Mahi I have and try my hand at home today at making my own. By the way, of course I went back for a second plateful!
Susan gave us a lecture at the beginning of the class in which I learned more factors than I could record about a “Raw” diet. Did you know that when you cook anything over 118 degrees it destroys the valuable enzymes, 84% of the vitamins, 50% of the protein and a large portion of the Biophotons. Did you know that when you cook meat above 300 degrees it creates carcinogens? I couldn’t write fast enough. Susan is currently on about an 80% “Raw” diet after being on a 95% “raw” diet and regaining her health, not to mention losing weight and getting in shape. She is getting ready to hike for three-day on the Volcano trail and I couldn’t even begin to think about this outing. She is also author of two books “The Live Food Factor” and “Beyond Broccoli“, both available on Amazon. I would highly encourage you to take her class if you are interested in eating healthy and find yourself in Cuenca Ecuador. You will not be disappointed and you will learn a great deal about “Eating Raw”!