Archive for November, 2011

Grills and Solidarity on a Cuzco Weekend

Grilled Chicken at a Pollada

Grilled Chicken at a Pollada

By Walter Coraza Morveli (Translated by David Knowlton)

Savory and juicy steaks served with french fries and chicha or Coca-Cola result in solidarity and re-encountering each other for many people.

It is said that people used to help each other without asking for anything in exchange.  Helping other people was just part of who one was.  And when you needed help your efforts were reciprocally returned to you by other people.  In Quechua this was called Ayni and it is still practiced, even today, by all the people of Cuzco. Read the rest of this entry

Cuzco’s Special Sweet Empanadas

Holy Week Empanada

Holy Week Empanada

By Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara and David Knowlton

Cuzco has its own sweets, like the “Holy Week empanadas”.   Though their largest demand is on Thursday of Holy Week and in the days and weeks near it, they are available year round.  Looking like a kind of thin colorful cake on wax paper, they mound the display cases of bakeries and other stores in the city. Read the rest of this entry

Cusco or Cuzco, Which is it?

Cusco, Cuzco looking over the Cathedral's Steps

Cusco, Cuzco looking over the Cathedral's Steps

By David Knowlton, Walter Coraza Morveli, and Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara

Though seemingly a simple matter of right or wrong, issues of spelling can be quite complex.  Different spellings often invoke strong emotions that are less matters of linguistics than of identity and politics.   As a result, they respond to different histories and different arrangements of power.   The city and region that was the home of the Incas exemplifies this.  Variously spelled Cusco, Cuzco, Qosqo, or Qusqu, each has it adherents and experiences different attempts to make it the only one that is correct. Read the rest of this entry

Salchipapa

Salchipapa

By David Knowlton, Walter Coraza Morveli, and Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara

To get close to a plate of salchipapas, even though it is simple, is to be wrapped round and round in a world of attraction and gusto.   Although not a typical food of Cuzco, this combination of fried potatoes and sliced, fried franks draws people as if it were a wonder.  It has become a kind of tradition; several generations have now grown up with it. Read the rest of this entry

Choclo Ready for Cheese

Choclo Ready for Cheese

By Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara (Translated by David Knowlton)

Though simple, sweet corn with cheese, choclo con queso, is without doubt the most exquisite of dishes, especially in our ancient city of Cuzco.  In the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas they grow the best corn on the cob for this dish, with its big kernals and delicate taste.  During the months of November through April it has great demand since they are months of greatest production.

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Sirena, Desire and Culture in Cuzco

Sirena with Charango, Facade Puno Cathedral

Sirena with Charango, Facade Puno Cathedral

By David Knowlton

Once the heart of empire, now the draw of tourists, Cuzco carries within it stories and passions unseen by most outsiders.  Though some women dress in hats and bright skirts and stand by llamas for tourists to photograph them and though in the city’s fine restaurants indigenous food is reworked to represent place through taste, still there is a vital, living culture in which Quechua sighs and pants, inhales and exhales, as if it were a sirena, a mermaid, who through her song conquers the willing. Read the rest of this entry

World in a World, Papa Rellena

World in a World, Papa Rellena

By David Knowlton and Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara

A small, colorful world full of flavor appears among white, billowy clouds when you open a papa rellena, a Peruvian stuffed potato roll that is one of its creole classics.   As a result, this very meaningful crispy-fried metaphor is a common snack in Cuzco’s markets during the day and on its streets once night falls. Read the rest of this entry

Fresh Air and Fresh Trout in Lucre

Fresh Trout in Lucre

Fresh Trout in Lucre

By Walter Coraza Morveli (Translation by David Knowlton)

A lunch outdoors, in the midst of nature and surrounded by mountains is the humble but priceless and charming Lucre, a town not far from the city of Cuzco.   It is well-known for its trout which go quickly from swimming in water to cooking in the pan.  From it they come to the table fresh and crispy and surround us with their perfume and then fill us with their flavor. Read the rest of this entry

The Historic San Pedro Market and Its Juices.

Juice in San Pedro Market

Juice in San Pedro Market

By Walter Coraza Morveli (Translated by David Knowlton)

Natural colors and fresh scents rise from the heart of fruit. These, along with fast moving hands, wide smiles, and flirtatious looks draw many to the juice sector of Cuzco’s San Pedro Market. Read the rest of this entry

Seasonal Vegetarian Delight, Yuyo Jaucha

Yuyo Jaucha

Yuyo Jaucha

By Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara (translated by David Knowlton)

A seasonal dish called Jaucha (how-chaw) is only found from October through the beginning of March in Cuzco. It is one of the region’s favorites and is found presently in different streets and markets of the city. This dish is generally eaten when strong rains threaten Cuzco and is associated with water and growth. The city’s native population loves it and delights in its salty taste and great nutritional value though it is little known by foreigners, including the hordes of tourists that come to Cuzco. Read the rest of this entry

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