Food Culture

How We Think of Food in the Andes

 

The Andes mountains of Peru are filled with marvels and surprises, in nature, culture, and gastronomy. Its people live with open hearts, like a cradle that receives everything that might form part of their lives.

Abundant food is something that should never be missing. Here, when we are young, they teach us to first eat soup and then the main dish. Of course, if you do not finish up your soup there is no second, no main dish. All of this carries different meanings since when you are a child it is like an obligation but as you grow up it changes in meaning.

Eating together as a group (Walter Coraza Morveli)
Eating together as a group (Walter Coraza Morveli)

It would be a lack of respect to not eat that which you are served. The mink’a is one of the things that we most value and appreciate since it serves to draw people together in a community. In this same way, if you participate in collective work you must eat collectively, together. For these occasions those who are in charge of the kitchen cook in abundance so that there will not be a lack and, instead, there will be left too much.

They do not want lack courtesy to the people who come to help in the mink’a. In contrast, they want to fill their stomachs with something delicious in exchange for the work they are doing for the common good.

Tallarines al Horno (Oven Baked Fettuccine)
Tallarines al Horno (Oven Baked Fettuccine)

 

We can also speak a bit about what goes on inside the family. There is a phrase that says the grandmothers love their grandchildren more than their own children. It is also said that in a grandmother’s home you will never die from hunger. In many families it is this way. When you go to the grandmother’s home you never lack food. Or when a grandchild arrives at the grandmother’s home she asks if you have had your breakfast, if you have had lunch or dinner depending on the time of day.

As a result, we can say the norm of abundant food comes down to us from our ancestors. In some restaurants this tradition is maintained, though with every passing day we see that in today’s cuisine they only give you small portions. The rest of the dish is just decoration that calls your attention but does not fill your stomach.

We can say that our true food is characterized by being like the mountains, abundant. At the same time, our hearts are abundant and big for all those who want to spend time with our people and share with love all that they have.

Preparing Traditional Food in Anta (Photo: Wayra)
Preparing Traditional Food in Anta (Photo: Wayra)
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