Peruvian Fueltalk at Central - 0 to 4,000 Meters MAMSL in 2hrs
Perú is a nation with vast historical cultural periods dating back to 13,000 B.C. when the first hunters and gatherers migrated from North America. Pre-ceramic and Ceramic periods led to the Pre-Columbian period during which many communities strived to build civilizations. During the 1400's the Incan Empire sought to unite four regions spanning what we know today as Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Meanwhile, in Europe, the Spanish crown was funding explorations to find India. Columbus was searching for spices and other tradeable goods yet he didn't forsee discovering gold soon after setting sail for "India." Don't worry this is not a history listen. I'm sure you've read history books, listened to podcasts, talked to an overly energetic South American at a bar, or stood in line at the Machu Picchu entrance so you might not want more of my historical snippets but I promise this educational information will be lit in a few.
It turns out Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel was so much more about a cultural phenomenon than another guinea pig conquest story. Peru's conquest gave birth to a complex societal development that will forever live on. I mean I still live this dynamic environment every time I set foot in Perú. Visiting Perú is really intense and you definitely need to visit the land of the Incan Empire as soon as you can. Ok, back to the impact of Peru's conquest on nutrition. Where was I? Oh, Peru was Spain's viceroyalty in Latin America which in reality is just a nice way of describing a European peon. Actually, the Spanish colony in Perú was constructed by many peons from Africa, China, and other regions throughout the New World. This is where it starts to get lit, people. What happens when a Kenyan slave, a Chinese welder, and a Peruvian indigenous farmer meet at a Spanish hacienda near Lima? Lomo Saltado. Get your mobile phone or laptop out and open up an app like Yelp. Search for a Peruvian restaurant and research where the best Lomo Saltado is near you. I'm an herbivore now but this dish is primo for meat lovers, trust me. Wait, don't go just yet, finish reading this first so you have something to talk about while you eat. Moving on.
Spain set up their HQ's in Lima making Perú a centralized nation until the present day. This is super important to Peru's nutritional database because, until modern day Chefs like Virgilio Martínez Véliz from Central, Peru's culinary peak was just a reinterpretation of "colonized dishes." Don't get me wrong, I grew up savoring colonized dishes cooked by my mother and grandmother but there is so much more than the lomo saltado's, ceviche's, and anticucho's made in Peru.
The economic, cultural, and touristic decentralization of Perú is marking a path for curious seekers to find nutritional gold spanning from 0 to 4,000 meters above sea level. Peruvian topography roars with coastlines, deserts, wet jungles, dry jungles, Andes mountains, and the Amazon providing the world with a rich database of nutritional ingredients waiting to be discovered. Just go to your nearest wholefoods in the U.S. or local lux market in Europe and you will find various Peruvian superfoods like maca, camu camu, quinua, kiwicha , and lucuma ready to be thrown into your next smoothie. Chef Virgilio and his sister Malena launched Mater Iniciativa to unearth native ingredients, collect data points, and protect Perú's finest gold, culture.
In September 2017, I embarked on an excursion with three buddies from Las Vegas. I was the only person in the group to previously breathe air south of the equator. The plan was to have no plan and somehow get to Machu Picchu, experience central, watch a world cup qualifier, and ride bicycles down the sacred valley. However, my A-type buddies needed a plan so my analytical alter ego appeared. Suddenly, an all-inclusive excursion arose from the ashes and we were ready to board the plane with tickets, resos, and lycra.
Coming up on the next Peruvian Fueltalk blog post, I will break down our first Fueltalk exploration experience, how Central blew our minds, our record-breaking hike up La Montaña, not cycling, and world cup qualifier match. Stay tuned!
- Pablo Quiroga, Fueltalk Creator