Mike Torrey, Machu Picchu Photog, Talks Food in Peru

Mike Torrey is a San Diego based architectural photographer with a new book out called "Stone Offerings: Machu Picchu's Terraces of Enlightenment."

Mike will be in town for the Miami International Book Fair and will be on a panel with a National Geographic photographer and a pilgrimage organizer on Saturday, November 14, at 11:30 a.m. in room 7128 (building 7, first floor).

Short Order took the opportunity to ask Mike about his food experiences in Peru while he was shooting his book during the June and December solstices.

Here's what he had to say.

"I didn't know that potatoes tasted quite like that. Just the flavor, it was like eating a tomato that wasn't mass produced, just so much flavor, just amazing, and all sorts of varieties, purple, red, gold. Probably the most eye opening thing was just the richness of the flavor.

I had some nice fish dishes. I had some alpaca meat, kind of in a thick gravy, so you didn't get a strong sense of the meat itself.

I had some nouveau cuisine like what you might have in the states, but with  a bent on the Peruvian.

I had some particularly good ceviche. I've had ceviche here too. In Peru it was fresh, it was just a very high quality, one of em' had some mango, I know that's not that strange, but it was very good.

I had the famous Pisco Sour, like a liquer mixed with lemon and eggwhite, a little bit like a margarita in a way, very strong and tasty, and I really enjoyed that.

I had a Pisco Sour up at Cuzco at 11,000 feet elevation. You don't wanna drink too much of that when you first get there and are trying to adjust to the altitude. It'll go to your head very quickly.

On my second trip, in Cuzco, it was Christmastime, and I spent Christmas Eve with a family in their home. We had an authentic Cuzco Christmas dinner with turkey, beans, yellow salad, various vegetables, wine, inside their home. The grandfather was an artist and had painted a mural that was on the dining room wall. At midnight we were on a hill looking over a valley and everywhere were fireworks. The whole city was setting them off. That was spectacular.

Machu Picchu itself, on the terraces they grew maize, and they would make their chicha (beer) out of it. It's made of corn and then distilled. They grew tomatoes in Machu Picchu, and the terraces themselves were architecture, 10 foot walls, with 6 -8 foot walls underground. They had to build terraces to grow their food up in the heights of the Andes there."

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Jacob Katel
Contact: Jacob Katel