Coffee and Breakfast at Jack’s

David Knowlton

Breakfast found me in Jack’s this morning. It is a well-known American style eatery which serves breakfast during all the hours it is open. It offers premium bacon, pancakes and even nachos.

I arrived a little after seven, perhaps too early for the place since its kitchen was not ready and they did not have any WiFi to keep me occupied while waiting. My book thanked them. Read the rest of this entry

Hidden Pleasures, Cuzco’s Empanadas

Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Chicken Filled Empanada in Cusco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Chicken Filled Empanada in Cusco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Empanadas are winning ever more the palates of the people of Cuzco and visitors to the Imperial City. Various kinds of empanadas, a pasty folded over some kind of filling, are found here, though the majority of them look similar since they are made from dough.

Empanadas with fillings of beef, hotdog, chicken, or mixtas (combinations) are the classic ones found in our city. You will find them on sale in stores that offer bread or pastries, as well as in some cafes and coffee shops. There are also empanada vendors who offer their wares in the streets. These are very recognized throughout the city since they have been here for years on most major corners. Read the rest of this entry

Maqtillo who Keeps Order (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Maqtillo who Keeps Order (Walter Coraza Morveli)

David Knowlton

Dancers from one of the troupes making up the Nación Tawantinsuyo will gather every night this week to the side of the Compañía church on Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas. After the seven pm mass (6 pm on Friday) in this church which has a long history with the Inca families in Cuzco, the dancers who will be climbing up the glacier and image of Christ of Qoyllur Rit’i, will carry out their very meaningful dances as part of the lead up to the pilgrimage. On Saturday they will make their way to the mountain.

Monday night a Qhapaq Qolla troupe performed. While there is much to this dance that represents the highland llama and alpaca herders and their role in Cuzco life, here I want to just discuss one aspect of last night’s dance. Read the rest of this entry

Concern with Overprotecting Children

By Walter Coraza Morveli

Walking a Girl to School in Cuzco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Walking a Girl to School in Cuzco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Children are adorable. They are innocent angels that act on their own nature without judgement. Yet the children need to be taken care of, to receive love and security. They also need, however, some independence because excessive protection can bring them problems beyond those their parents attempt to avoid.

In our city today it seems a large number of parents try to over-protect their children. In doing so they create in them psychological difficulties. The children need to be out and spending time with other children. Once there they enter a different world with a different reality. Read the rest of this entry

Cusco Celebrates Its Hero Tupac Amaru, Plaza de Armas

Cusco Celebrates Its Hero Tupac Amaru, Plaza de Armas

Cuzco joins together in honoring one of its great heroes and most painful historical events today. On the 18th of May the Spanish drew and quartered the rebel Tupac Amaru and killed his family in the main square of Cuzco.  Historians argue this event marked the end of Spanish relevance in the new world and led the way to independence. 

It was also a very complex event making its history saturated with contemporary politics and troubles. In what follows we re-post from historian Chuck Walker, the author of a magisterial book on Tupac Amaru, the description of the execution by the nineteenth century historian and geographer.  It is deeply moving and painful. Read the rest of this entry

Sound and Dance on the Plaza Today

Paruro Nation in Cuzco Today

Paruro Nation in Cuzco Today

The great pilgrimage to Qoyllur Rit’i, the Shining Snow, begins today with its official send off in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas.  The song that accompanies pilgrims throughout their journey to the highlands and back fills the air in many different instrumentations.

All around the plaza bright colored dancers are gathered, each troupe under a banner which proclaims their affiliation to one or another of the different nations that make the trek.  The dancers are either part of confraternities with demanding activities or they are members of communities that make the pilgrimage.

Read the rest of this entry

The Town’s Curse and a Flying Head

Brayan Coraza Morveli

 Scared at Night  (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Scared at Night (Walter Coraza Morveli)

You will hear stories of witches and magic in our city here and there. People say they suffered from witchcraft and for that reason face bad luck and fail in many things, such as love, money, etc.

Brujos, as we call our witchdoctors and sorcerers, are seen as a solution to many things, such as finding a cure for susto—fright or shock, and other illnesses. They also bind people together in love, what we call amarres. Of course, there are many pretend sorcerers and witches who take advantage of people’s need. Read the rest of this entry

David Knowlton

Ingredients for First Grinding (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Ingredients for First Grinding (Walter Coraza Morveli)

For the mother’s day feast of huatia, earth-roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes accompanied by tallarines al horno (oven-baked fettuccine) and a pork cutlet, as well as baked guinea pig, my comadre doña Mercedes made up this wonderful uchukuta (hot sauce).  It was frankly one of the best I have ever tasted.  It was characterized by a complex and layered flavor, that is nutty and rich, with that amazing edge of piny sharpness of the rocoto.

To figure out how she did it and a recipe I asked her and then spoke with her son who helped her throughout the process.  This is what I came up with. Read the rest of this entry

Brayan Coraza Morveli

With a flavor that is deep and reminiscent of meat, while still sweet and fruity, the native Andean fruit called lúcuma or lucma in the Andes is gaining ever more attention.

Not only are people around the world becoming interested in this fruit whose powder provides an essential tartness, the fruit itself is more and more valuable for export. The Peruvian government has named it a signature fruit of Peru.

This fruit has a benefit. Unlike many others, it is not easily cultivated outside its home range because of the trees precise requirements for light, temperature, and season. Its greatest commercial production is in the Peruvian regions of Ayacucho, Huancavelia, Cajamarca, and Lima. While other departments of the country also grow lúcuma, their production does not reach the quantities of the other four regions. Read the rest of this entry

Of Men and Dogs

Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Free Roaming Dog Sleeping in the Street (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Free Roaming Dog Sleeping in the Street (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Day after day in the city of Cuzco people live and maintain to their fullest traditions and customs. Besides the customs of the city, people also have ways and beliefs that are only shared with the people around them. You can see this in Cuzco’s different neighborhoods. Each of them has slightly different customs and traditions.

One custom that you find in the majority of our neighborhoods is that when the center of the household, the grandmother or the mother, get mad and say strong things they compare people with dogs. Read the rest of this entry

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