Our very own GCAS President, Kyle Meredith, tells us a tale of a trip to Peru from years past. He said he was prompted to write after having seen a blog post on our website with a link to an article that discussed Peru's papa nativas (native potatoes) and the archaeological site of Moray, Peru. Welcome back, Kyle!
A blast from the past! I have a propensity for falling in love with every place we go, but Peru more than others. So much of it looked so familiar. I had to look up Moray on the map because I could have sworn we had seen it, but actually it looked very similar to Pisaq in many ways, also in the Sacred Valley. In fact, the reason it looked so much like Pisaq is because one of their photos WAS Pisaq from almost the exact same spot that I took the photo.
We learned quite a bit about agricultural Peru as we traveled, mostly by seeing the abundance of food at the mercados—some of them basically blocks-long farmers markets on a main thoroughfare. There were always more varieties of potatoes than we have ever seen in toto in the USA. We learned that there were 3,000 native varieties, although [that] article said there were 4,000. Who's counting! It was at the top of the pyramid at Sondor (Andahuaylas) that we encountered a small potato patch that had recently been harvested with an uprooted plant still lying there. I guess we missed an opportunity to take it home for supper. (Note the scarecrow to the right [in this photo].)
In Cuzco we shopped at a tiendita where the dueña ( I suppose) got used to us coming in, and one day when we went to buy potatoes for supper, she pointed us to what I assume she considered a preferred variety that had just come in. I don't specifically remember the flavor, but we had so much fresh produce at hand that it was all good. One of our favorite street foods in Cuzco, though, was the papa rellena that had a boiled egg inside. I haven't been able to find a recipe that precisely matched what we ate. Way better than cuy, no doubt. [Cuy = guinea pig, a traditional dish of the Andes - ed.]
The section on Arequipa had all sorts of memories attached. We shopped and ate at the Mercado San Camilo (where they were impressed at our appreciation of their salsa muy picante). They also had an "olive bar" way superior to anything anywhere in the USA.
So, thanks for the memories! If we were younger and a little more footloose, it wouldn't be any problem relocating to Peru. I LOVE that place.
Thank you, Kyle, for sharing your love of Peru with all of us. We of the GCAS are lucky that you haven't emigrated to Peru just yet!
/s/ webmaster [all photos by Kyle Meredith]