The history of the culinary culture of Peru

Potato, potato. Tomato, tomato. It is a debate that we owe to Peru, to third largest country in South America, which gave the world its native potatoes and tomatoes, among other foods.

Why is this important: Ancient Peruvians developed and planted thousands of crops, including quinoa, tomatoes, corn, and potatoes, which are only native to the Andes in South America. The Spanish then exported these crops around the world at a time when famine was common from Europe to Russia. Smithsonian magazine credits Peru’s potatoes with making possible the rise of the West.

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Story: The Spaniards, led by the conquistador Francisco Pizarre, arrived in Peru in 1526.

  • When Pizarro and his men got in touch with the Inca Empire, approximately 40,000 Incas ruled a territory of 10 million subjects who spoke more than 30 different languages.

  • the end of inca civilization came in 1533 with the execution of Atahualpa, the last free reigning emperor.

  • Peru eventually gained independence from Spanish rule in July 1821.

Although Peruvian food It is only recently that it has gained popularity around the world, the country has fed the world for centuries.

  • Peru has more than 4000 types potatoes. Historian Rebecca Earle refers to the tuber as “the world’s most successful immigrant”, as growers and consumers around the world claim it as theirs.

  • The export of potatoes paved the way for modern agriculture. As it crossed the Atlantic, the first fertilizer in the world, the Peruvian guano, accompanied it, according to the Smithsonian magazine.

  • To note : Some researchers believe that the arrival of the potato in northern Europe ended the famine, according to the Smithsonian.

Besides the potatoes, Peruvian staple foods include quinoa, maca (a plant mainly eaten in powder form), lucuma (a fruit formerly called the The gold of the Incas) and kiwisha (known as amaranth) – all of which are considered “superfoods” today for their health benefits.

  • While meats were introduced by the Spaniards, the Incas freeze-dried it, calling it ch’arki (meaning “to burn meat”), which led to the English word for meat commonly found in convenience stores around the world: beef jerky.

Enlarge: Peru encompasses a variety of climates, from mountains to jungles to coasts. Each region offers culinary diversity within Peruvian cuisine.

  • In the Andes, meals revolve around corn, potatoes and other tubers, as well as meats like alpaca and Guinea pig (called cuy in the country).

  • In the Amazon, fish is a staple, and dishes often include fruits like pitahaya (dragon fruit), guava, maracuya (sour dragon fruit), cocoa pods (which contain cocoa beans) or cocona (a tomato found in the Amazon).

  • Along the Peruvian coast, the most famous dish is ceviche – a raw fish with onions and peppers marinated in lime juice – served with sweet potatoes and fried corn.

The bottom line: Peruvian cuisine is considered the “original fusion food“because he adapted the foods of different cultures and nationalities, including the Spanish colonizers, African slaves, Chinese workers and Italian settlers, upon their arrival.

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