Not too long ago, quinoa was a humble seed eaten by rural people and the urban poor. In Peru’s cities people would turn up their noses at its site, given its lack of status, in their efforts to climb the social ladder.
Now quinoa is chic. It comes dressed with recommendations from Martha Stewart to Gwyneth Paltrow. Major newspapers trumpet it arrival. It graces the plates of elite restaurants. Quinoa is taking the world, one mouthful at a time.David Knowlton2 1971
The Inca presented many puzzles to the Spanish who invaded their land. Inca ways were not the same as European ways. And, the Europeans struggled to grasp them from the world of their own culture.
Bernabe Cobo wrote an important chronicle of the Inca in the seventeenth century, almost a century after they had disappeared. A Jesuit, he spent years in Peru, both upper and lower, and made use of exiting documents. As a result, his comments on Inca cuisine are both useful and intriguing.
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Hot peppers have deep roots in Perú. As early Peruvians were beginning to build pyramids in what is one of the worlds driest deserts, about the same time Egyptians were doing the same, Peruvians were already eating hot peppers.
The domesticated them some 6,000 yrs ago. While most of the world relies on just one species of pepper, capsicum annum, for its hotness, Peru’s neighborhood markets and super stores contain four or five species. And, their most consumed peppers come from two species seldom seen in Europe or the United States.David Knowlton0 1914