Friday, July 31, 2009

Calca Market

There is no secret that I love markets. I honestly don't think there is a better, more public way of seeing a culture, all the food and customs out for display, the people gathered and slowly chatting and doing their day's work. Of course the fact that I'm surrounded by all sorts of food doesn't hurt either.

Before we started off our trek towards Machu Picchu, our tour guide picked us up bright and early, and was a little upset that we had him waiting 10 minutes while we lugged out our belongings sleepily and slowly to the car. It took us about an hour to get to Calca, my memory fails me with the exact specifics. Calca is a small town in the Calca province. We stopped to get some food and drinks and to orient ourselves before we began. We didn't see much of the town besides the market, that despite the early hour was pretty busy.

Growing up in a Spanish household, as well as my frequent visits to Galicia, have made me pretty accustomed to seeing fish with the head still attached, dead chickens with some sparing feathers, pigs feet, intestines, and most others animal parts and nasty bits that are meant to be consumed. It may not have phased me, but I could tell some of my companions were not feeling as at ease. It is important to pay attention, even if it makes you uneasy, because the items found in each market reflect the customs of a culture. It is really a question of resources. You use what is available for you.
A poor family will undoubtedly make sure to use all parts of whatever animals are available. It would be extremely wasteful to throw out anything if there was a chance to keep your family well fed. The traditions have held on throughout the years, hence why many cultures continue to cook with the same ingredients people have used for hundreds of years. Of course other factors, such as religion and wealth, also have a lot of influence in everyday cuisine. A vegetarian from Gujurat will have a much different diet than a Catholic from Kerala, for example. Nevertheless if you want an overall idea make your way over to the nearest, local market and you will see.
Warning, nasty bits are below. Scroll with caution.

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