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Let’s talk about Peruvian cuisine!

If you remember, I am a food anthropologist.  More specifically, an archaeobotanist, which is just a fancy way to say that I study the old, burnt seeds and plants that people ate in the past.  I also love to try new foods and styles of preparation for foods I commonly eat.  So, I am completely infatuated with how other people eat, what other people eat, and whom they eat with when I travel.

While visiting Peru, I learned much about their cuisine, both ancient and modern.  In fact, our guides throughout the trip – Luis in Lima and Al and Victor in the Sacred Valley – often spoke about food traditions.  The following information is based on what I learned listening to our guides talk while we rode the bus from one spectacular site to the next.   Here is just a taste…

Did you know that there are more than 3000 varieties of potatoes indigenous to Peru, and more than 700 in Cusco alone?

Most Andean potatoes are vastly different from what we think of as a “normal” potato. They have skin and flesh that are often colored bright yellow or deep purple. Some varieties are long and thin, and others wrinkled. Many have a high nutritional quality and a strong potato-y taste. Many Peruvian varieties are less watery than common potatoes or have nut-like tastes and crisp textures. Moreover, most of these less recognized types of  potatoes are adapted to marginal growing environments and possess considerable resistance to various troublesome diseases, insects, and frost1 .

 

There are many traditional dishes made from Peruvian potatoes, but one in particular stands out in my mind at this very moment.  One afternoon at lunch my homestay “Mom” made a delicious vegetable soup.  The star of the soup was a crisp fingerling potato that I have never tasted before.  The texture and flavor were quite different from the potato varieties I have tasted before and very yummy!

Peruvian Potatoes & Indigenous Varietals. http://nissa.ger-nis.com/2010/10/07/peruvian-potatoes-indigenous-varietals/
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Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Email: bellaceroc@cravencc.edu
Phone: 252.638.7328
Fax: 252.638.3231

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