From The Past: Across The Cordillera Of The Andes…

This week’s “from the past” brings you a piece from…

Across The Cordillera Of The Andes, And Of A Residence In Lima, Other Parts Of Peru, In The Years 1823 And 1824” by Robert Proctor, Esq.; Published in 1825.

On inquiring what could be had for supper, I found that a sheep had been killed, and as every thing was novel, I went to view the kitchen. It was a sort of shed at the end of the house, which had been once covered in, but the roof was then half off : in the middle of the earthen floor was a hole, either hollowed by use or made on purpose, in which was a wood fire, and two or three spits were stuck round in the earth, on which was threaded a side of mutton. Such is the method of making an asado or roast, which is the general dish in the country. Round the fire sat my peons, and as their appetites could not wait until the principal asado was ready, they had obtained a few long wooden skewers, with small pieces of meat upon them, which they stuck close to the fire, so as to touch the flames ; as soon as one of these was sufficiently cooked on one side, they took it up. Their method of eating was not the most elegant ; they caught hold of the meat with their teeth, while they kept the skewer in their hands : when they had cut off the piece they had bitten, they placed the skewer a second time before the fire, taking up a second and a third in turn, and serving them in the same way. Their knives are formidable weapons, and are worn stuck either in the boot or girdle.

Psst…I slice off a few small morsels here and there while the meat is slowly cooking to perfection. It’s practically impossible to resist the temptation. If someone catches you in the act, just silence them with an offering. They won’t tell anyone else, trust me.

Google Books has the whole book online here.

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