David Knowlton

Grinding Hot Sauce on a Traditional Batán (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Grinding Hot Sauce on a Traditional Batán (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Scientists tell us it is the quantity of capsaicin peppers have that makes them hot and spicy to one degree or another. The spiciness is generally measured in Scoville units and different kinds of pepper are given general ranges. 

That they come in ranges suggests that two peppers of the same kind may have different degrees of heat. 

As a result of the variation, people in Cuzco look for other explanations of why some hot sauces, made with the same kind of pepper, a rococo let us say, are hotter than others. Here, in Spanish, they ask why one sauce is more picante than another made with the same pepper. Read the rest of this entry

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David Knowlton

Strawberry jam and Ciabatta Bread

Strawberry Jam and Ciabatta Bread

Far too frequently, you are in a Cusco restaurant, even a good one, eating the breakfast you ordered and you notice the strawberry jam that was supposed to be there for your bread was not there. You ask. They tell you, “we ran out of jam.”

So ordinary and so frustrating. This happened to me this morning in Kushka…afe on Espaderos Street. The place was full and the young man serving had to go around telling everyone there was no jam. Read the rest of this entry

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Walter Coraza Morveli, Arnold Fernandez Coraza, and Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara

A Stand of Corn and Its  Varieties

A Stand of Corn and Its Varieties in Huancaro Fair

This year, after a break, the objective of the Huancaro Fair was reclaimed, to give a public space to Cusco’s agricultural and livestock producers. It takes place between the 20th and 20th of June in the Huancaro Fairgrounds. Producers from the thirteen provinces of Cusco and from other regions of the country are present.

It was fascinating and a great learning experience to visit this state fair held in Huancaro where all the diverse climates and areas of Cusco and other regions come together in a single space. Read the rest of this entry

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David Knowlton

Qoyllur Rit’i , Sinakara (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Qoyllur Rit’i , Sinakara (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Smoke flowed in a cloud over the grassy lands to the side of Saqsayhuaman from early in the morning and traffic was heavy. Long before the crowds arrived at the site of the ancient temple of Saqsayhuaman for the performance of the Inti Raymi pageant with its honoring the sun and sacrifice of a llama for Cusco, people were already on site.

Before noon the grassy grounds were covered with perhaps as many as thirty thousand people opening the earth and stacking clods in carefully constructed hive ovens which they would then fire up until very hot and then fill with potatoes and other tubers before collapsing it and letting them cook. Many others streamed in through out the day to make their own ovens and eat huatia, earth oven cooked food. Read the rest of this entry

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Brayan Coraza Morveli

A Father and His Boy, Happy Fathers Day (Photo: Wayra)

A Father and His Boy, Happy Fathers Day (Photo: Wayra)

Fathers’Day is a day dedicated to fathers to honor the influence of father’s in the lives of their children. The love of fathers for their children is recognized and celebrated by their children and by other people who recognize the efforts of fathers.

That is why on every third Sunday in June people celebrate Fathers’ Day. Since it falls on a weekend, Cusco’s culture commands that it be spent in family and with friends and others around you. Read the rest of this entry

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Arnold Fernandez Coraza

Stewed with Rice (Photo: Wayra)

Stewed with Rice (Photo: Wayra)

The people of Cusco make up a lot of food when they cook. They cook both for lunch and dinner. Throughout the week they make different dishes, such as chicken stew (estofado de pollo), Turkish rice, noodles with chicken (tallarín con pollo), lentils and rice, as well as many more. The women in the house are the ones who are in charge of having the family meal ready.

After enjoying lunch and dinner people reheat the left overs for breakfast. People love to have this rewarmed food from the day before to start the new day. This way they begin the day with a lot of energy and vigor. Read the rest of this entry

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A cup of Coffee as a Lonche (Walter Coraza Morveli)

A Cup of Coffee as a Lonche (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Arnold Fernandez Coraza

One of Cuzco’s customs is to eat a lonche at the end of the afternoon. It is a kind of snack or light meal that people eat every day.

When 5 pm rolls around it is time for a lonchesito, as we call it with affection. You might bring the whole family together to have a typical lonche. It consists generally of a hot drink that you enjoy with rolls (panes) and something else that is delicious. Read the rest of this entry

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David Knowlton

The Earth Oven for Huatia (Walter Coraza Morveli)

The Earth Oven for Huatia (Walter Coraza Morveli)

The scent of burning wood, leaves, and grass perfumes the air in much of Cuzco these days, especially in rural areas where people are harvesting potatoes.

It is the time of huatia or huathia, ovens made of clods in which fresh tubers, and sometimes meat, are cooked.

Versions of these basic ovens, are found throughout the Americas and probably are one of the most basic of common culinary techniques that date to well before the coming of Europeans. Read the rest of this entry

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David Knowlton

Band Playing in the Plaza this Morning (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)

Band Playing in the Plaza this Morning (Arnold Fernandez Coraza)

Three brass bands play loudly and simultaneously different songs in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas, from a tinku to the Condor Pasa and Virgenes del Sol (the Virgens of the Sun), all the while an announcer tries to cut through the sound to announce the children from kindergartens throughout the city who are going to be dancing shortly.

At least two different things are going on at the same time. The municipality’s organization EMUFEC has set of a reviewing stand and risers along the street for an audience that is yet to arrive to watch the children dance. Read the rest of this entry

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David Knowlton

Chiriucho for Sale (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Chiriucho for Sale (Walter Coraza Morveli)

Considered the iconic food of Cuzco, chiriuchu fascinates. It is not like ceviche, lomo saltado, or an arroz chaufa. 

Its elaborateness comes less from the skill of cooking, although that is very important, than it does from combining a variety of foods together. It is not just any variety but is one that carries ties to an elaborate set of regions and meanings, from the sea coast, to valleys, to the high altiplano. 

Chiriuchu is about bringing things together just as a mountain unites lots of different ecological zones into a single whole.  Read the rest of this entry

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