The Taste of Conquest

Colonialism, Cosmopolitics, and the Dark Side of Peru's Gastronomic Boom

Article appearing in The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology

  • Publisher: Wiley Online Library
  • Date: December 17, 2013

Led by chef Gastón Acurio, a “gastronomic revolution” is taking place in Peru. Framed as a culinary and social movement, this gastronomic boom offers the cosmopolitan promise of integrating a fragmented nation and exporting Peruvian culture to the world. This article argues that such a celebratory framing obscures a dark side of marginalization and violence against indigenous and nonhuman bodies. In examining the cosmopolitanism of novoandino cuisine, I draw upon the work of Stengers and Latour in utilizing a cosmopolitical approach that shifts our thinking from how differences might be reconciled in “one world” (the promise of cosmopolitanism) to the conflicts that arise in the partial connections between many worlds (Stengers’s cosmopolitical proposal). Beyond the world of urban upper-class Lima, I explore what this boom means for the worlds of Andean indigenous communities and the less visible nonhuman worlds of Andean animals, such as guinea pigs and alpacas.