Food Culture Archives

Where Are the People from Cuzco?

Cuzco's Plaza with Dancers in Parade (David Knowlton)

Cuzco’s Plaza with Dancers in Parade (David Knowlton)

David Knowlton

After I snuggled into the small taxi, the driver pulled out and then said “where are you from?” I answered him and then he said his brother also lived in the United States, in Los Angeles.

“He has lived there for twenty years now and is fully adapted. He bought some moving trucks and does well with that business. Every year he comes back to Cuzco. 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

May Brings Abundance and Huatia for All

Walter Coraza Morveli

Hot Huatia and Love (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Hot Huatia and Love (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Everything that the Mother Earth offers us is incredible, especially when understood in light of the traditions  and knowledge of our ancestors. During this month, there is nothing better that a delicious huatia, an earth-oven to bake fresh tubers.

From it comes a steaming offering of potatoes and sweet potatoes, crispy on the outside and fluffy with unequaled taste inside due to their intrinsic characteristics and the added flavor of the earth. Read the rest of this entry

In the Time of Corn

David Knowlton

Mama Sara - Mother Corn (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Mama Sara – Mother Corn (Walter Coraza Morveli)

This month may be more about Mother’s Day in Cuzco than almost anything else (though the windup to Corpus Christi and the Days of Cuzco demand lots of attention). In Inca times, it was different.

If you can imagine the great Inca city, with its massive, stone buildings and thatched roofs, as well as its hills groomed into terraces punctuated with temples, huacas, replete with priests, rituals, and sacrifices. Read the rest of this entry

The Problem of Knowledge in the Andes

Walter Coraza Morveli

¿Who are you and What are you looking for?

¿Who are you and What are you looking for?

Who are you and what do you seek?

This classic question is at the heart of much in Cuzco. For now, it is enough to notice that sometimes you are not prepared to know truths. Many ask questions long before they are ready for the answers and it is better t olive until you are ready to know. Sometimes answers can be very uncomfortable. Read the rest of this entry

The Carisiri, Terror of the Highlands

Brayan Coraza Morveli

It is said that sorcerers or people who practice black magic first must pay a heavy price. They are converted into a carisiri by the demon. The carisiri is a dog whose destiny is to roam the high and icy plains, the pampas, where there are no people. Hey must first pay this harsh price in order to return to be human again.

They wander the high lands suffering hunger and thirst and hoping that someone will come close so they can eat him. As a result, animals and even person are afraid of this person-dog. He is a kind of condenado or condemned one we could say. Read the rest of this entry

Walter Coraza Morveli

An Image of Cruz Velakuy Celebration (Walter Coraza Morveli)

An Image of Cruz Velakuy Celebration (Walter Coraza Morveli)

The feast of Cruz Velakuy is a Catholic celebration. It is the adoration of the Cross which represents the passion of Jesus Christ. It is carried out every May 2nd in the various zones of our city as well as in the provinces, wherever people are organized in devotion to a specific cross.

The leader of the feast, the mayordomo or carguyoc, the person or couple who have agreed to take the responsibility for organizing the feast (the cargo) along with the help of their friends and family members who give assistance in the form of Ayni. It takes an enormous combined effort to carry out these major feasts. Read the rest of this entry

The Rains Continue and Our Land Blooms

A Rainy Day and Nice Rainbow (Walter Coraza Morveli)

A Rainy Day and Nice Rainbow (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Cuzco is dressed in color, these days, thanks to the rainy season. For several months, now, we have had almost daily rainfall and out flowers and scenery are at the splendid peak. You can see it clearly in our mountains that are green now. There you can see the clouds gather and the rain strike, From there you also see the scenery around the city bloom.

Saqsaywaman, the Temple of the Moon and all the land around present diverse and unique colors. It is stunning to see the majestic colors the land provides us. They make these sites of our ancestors all the more majestic and spectacular. In them you can really feel a unique calm and peace. Read the rest of this entry

Corn, An Ancient and Modern Staff of Life

Brayan Coraza Morveli

The Variety of Corn in Cuzco

The Variety of Corn in Cuzco (Water Coraza Morveli)

Corn is one of the most ancient foods that we eat every day. It is certainly important in the Andes where it is one of the sacred staffs of life. It comes in a great variety of colors and sizes, most of which are found in the mountains and valleys of the Peruvian highlands.

Ever since times past people would store corn in order to eat it when there was no fresh produce or when hunger assailed. Today, only the form of storage has changed since from this product we derive so many others. Read the rest of this entry

Abundance Comes to Cuzco These Days

A Stand of Corn and also Choclo with cheese for Sale (Walter Coraza Morveli)

A Stand of Corn and also Choclo with cheese for Sale (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Our fields are full to overflowing with the wonders of farming. The time of the harvest is approaching and soon, in May, our farmers will be hard at work gathering their crops. These days our corn and potatoes are especially radiant, whether in the upland fields or in the Sacred Valley.

The month of abundance is upon us. To our markets arrive fresh and delicious produce sent by small-scale producers who work hard to get their quality crops to market. Read the rest of this entry

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