When you drive along the dusty winding highways of Peru
you see layers upon layers of terracing up and down the mountains. At first you think they all kind of just appeared there over time, but after talking to anybody decently-versed in Peruvian agriculture, you realize this was all on purpose. Terracing was first introduced by the Inka people to create more space for agriculture and it kind of, well, stuck. A common theme I noticed in Peru was survival. While the culture, traditions, music, and foods were rich, they were all rooted in survival, which is a beautiful but difficult thing to be faced with.
The even more amazing thing to me was how so much of the food that Peru uses to survive is the same food we come to know and enjoy as food trends! If a Peruvian person isn’t eating this food for survival, chances are they’re harvesting it and selling it so we can buy it to help them feed their own family.
If you take a look at Whole Foods and other websites’ food trends for the upcoming year, you see things like popped quinoa, maca powder, and ancient grains. All of these wonderful things aren’t trendy for Peruvians, they’re a means for survival! I’d be remiss not to pay homage, so I wanted to share with you all some common trendy "super foods" that you may or may not have known come from Peru:
- Kiwicha (amaranth)
- Dried fruits
- Maca root
- Chia seeds
- Potato (there are over 3000 varieties grown in Peru)
If you followed along with my Instagram stories over the past week or so, you got to see a lot of food (like this awesome spread). Like a lot. I tried so many “new foods” I ended up getting a stomach virus on the last day (go figures, I have a weak stomach).
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So why should I care?
I love seeing us go back to basics, especially when it comes to food. That being said, I think it’s important to pay homage. Whether it’s in the food labeling, the recipe writing, or list-curating, I think we could do a little bit more to pay our respects to the indigenous cultures who’ve been eating “superfoods” for ages, and get a better understanding as to why they did. Whether it's turmeric from India, matcha from Japan, or maca from Peru, it's important to know that the foods we consider to be trendy have been around (and will be around) for ages.