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A Shameless Foodie On A Mission: A Special 4 Part Series from Peru

I’m too young to remember when all the tomatoes tasted like the heirloom ones that nowadays you can only find in farmers markets. Too young to remember the eggs that had ruby orange yolks but were free of free-range labels. I have heard people reminiscing over flavor profiles of the past, and my taste buds lament not having been alive to taste that time period.

Experiencing China through Food

12695200_10208750018494890_1844812783_oIn China I bought eggs with ruby-orange yolks from one of the many grandmas that had come down from the village to sell her farm-fresh products in a city street market. In Chinese, these eggs are called Tu Jidan, or Earth Chicken eggs, and after visiting some of the villages they came from I can attest that they indeed live off the Earth. They forage for insects, wild herbs, and only return to their man-made shelters to sleep and lay eggs.

Journey to South America in search of food and adventure


Marin and her wife, Adri, on their Peruvian adventure

Upon my return to the US, I worried that these glimpses of truly local, affordable food were only in China and Southeast Asia. Now, as I have embarked on my journey through South America, I realize that there are strongholds of local economies that sell real food ‘by the people for the people’ all over the world. Of course, no place is immune to the challenges that a globalized food system is bringing, and my travels have shown me this as well.

This is good news, because real food seems to be a pretty key player in supporting sustainable livelihoods. Local food systems generally work with Nature, rather than against Her. Industrial agriculture and globalized food markets, on the other hand, have not been so friendly to the environment.

As a Shameless Foodie on A Mission it is my goal to track down food that is still fresh, local, and most importantly, delicious.

12636959_10208750070576192_1177755316_oThis 4-part series will be a tale of my food forays in Peru; join me for the good, the strange, and the strangely familiar.

Serving up next: Part 1: It’s a Small Globalized Food Market After All

photo credits: Marin Toscano and Afrotangle Design

Author: Marin Toscano

This post has 4 Comments

  1. Forrest on February 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I too experienced this in my South American journey. Pockets of local communities, local farms, and even a farm to table restaurant in Samaipata, Bolivia where they would pick the fresh herbs and go and get the eggs to make your omelet. Living on a farm near El Bolson, Argentina I got to eat cherries from the trees and virtually everything we are was from the various gardens. I also experienced the plight of corporate greed in the countries I visited, especially places where many people lived in poverty. Lines for McDonalds were around the block and many indigenous people drinking two liters of Coca Cola because it is cheaper than filtered water. It is important to note the presence of both very opposite ends of the food spectrum. Unfortunately as it is all over the world, many city environments and places where the people have lost their land and water to development, they are starved and forced to buy processed foods because of poverty. It’s great to see the indigenous and local people empowered and growing their own foods on lands that their ancestors have been living and farming for hundreds, even thousands of years. Great article Marin- I’m excited to read more as you continue to travel and encounter the various foods of South America.

    • Marin Toscano on February 5, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Thanks Forrest. Indeed it is important to look at both ends of the food spectrum (I might steal this term!). It is a ironic global phenomenon where people in other countries that are hungry for development seem to think a lot of their traditional practices around growing, selling and eating food are “backwards” while in the US we think the resurgence of similar practices are “progressive.” For example, farmers markets and food trucks; these are neatly repackaged versions of the street markets and street vendors that are the norm in a lot of other countries. Unfortunately, supermarkets and iconic globalized food brands like Coca-Cola and McDonalds are social status symbols. I could go on on and on but I’ll stop before I write an entire other blog post. Thanks for your comment Forrest. I look forward to seeing what you think about the next Part!

  2. Peterson Toscano on February 6, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I am VERY excited about this series. As editor of Climate Stew, I have enjoyed looking at the upcoming articles and the photos. Wow, great photographs by Adri and you. Thank you for taking the time to share your trip WHILE you are still on it. That’s impressive. I can’t wait to post the first part. Coming soon!