Cuzco's White Corn at the Center of Ritual
Peru has many distinctive foods, but the ”giant white corn of Cuzco”, known for its large kernels, is one of the first to obtain a denomination of origin. The white corn gained this honor after an arduous bureaucratic process in 2006 while a year ago, January 2010, the traditional “knowledges, uses and technologies” associated with this corn in Cuzco’s Sacred Valley gained another distinction as “National Cultural Patrimony”.
In both cases, the distinction celebrates a relationship between food and place and between food and culture. The long mountain valley through which the Vilcanota river meanders is the heart of Cuzco, both now and in times past. It is a complex ecosystem in which high mountain pastures and potato fields are connected with the broad fields of corn of the valley’s floor in a single system of culture and food. And, the production of white corn is at its center. Read the rest of this entry