General Discussion

Your experiences with obligatory eating? Eating 20 guinea pigs in Peru

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Your experiences with obligatory eating? Eating 20 guinea pigs in Peru

Sam Fujisaka | Aug 16, 2008 08:07 PM

Last week I was in northern Peru interviewing groups of organic fair trade coffee farmers. Our small team had four groups to work with on the first day. We arrived after a very early two hour drive at the first community. Before we could get started, the group had us have breakfast that they had prepared: rice, boiled potatoes, boiled and then fried yuca (cassava), and fried cuy (guinea pig). Delicious! Really great! We went on and arrived mid-morning at the second community, did the second participatory group interview, and were then promptly sat down to have an early lunch of--rice, potatoes, yuca, and cuy—plus rompope (or caspiroleta), a drink made of aguardiente (locally distilled cane liquor), whipped egg whites, beaten yolks, evaporated milk, honey, vanilla, and beaten egg yolks! Eat and drink all again. The third group also had us sit down to eat and drink: rice, potatoes, yuca, cuy, and rompope! Believe it or not, the fourth group was more of the same-- rice, potatoes, yuca, and cuy, and another fresh batch of rompope!! Happily eat and drink again!!! Four meals of high cholesterol cuy and sweet egg-based aguardiente in six or so hours. The next several days were very similar! But this is the way fieldwork is and has to be done. What have been your obligatory eating experiences?

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