The more Brazilian food I eat and the more I visit Brazil, the more I realize how little I really know about Brazilian cooking. The country is massive, a continent of its own. By Leticia Moreinos-Schwartz’s The Brazilian Kitchen (Kyle Books, 2010) is the best all around study on Brazilian food I’ve read thus far.
Magaly Solier is better known as an actress in Peru, having starred in Claudia Llosa’s Madeinusa and the more recent La Teta Asustada (The Milk of Sorrow), which is nominated for best foreign film at the Oscar’s this year. Her childhood dream has always been to be a singer, however, and she recently drew eyebrows (and made Tilda Swinton cry) when singing a song in Quechua during her acceptance of a Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival.
For much of the past month I’ve been traveling throughout the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru while researching oil contamination and exploration, so it was with great interest that I watched Crude, which was released on Tuesday in North America. The film outlines the court case Aguinda vs. Chevron-Texaco that has had 30,000 people in the Ecuadorian Amazon face off against the American Oil giant for a good part of two decades.
Peruvian cuisine is one of the driving forces of Peru’s economy and growing national pride. Like Japan or France, here food, and the people that make it, are respected at all levels of society. It is the most revealing aspect of Peruvian society, more so than music or futbol. A beautiful new film, entitled, De Ollas y Sueños, or Cooking Up Dreams, has recently opened to much acclaim. The film follows Peruvian cuisine around Peru and around the world.
This list, my own creation, names 50 of the best books about the South American continent. Some titles date back to the time of conquest, while others were written this year. With the holiday shopping season among us, don’t forget that a book is a great gift idea, especially for any Latin America guru or wannabe. Some of the books are out of print or hard to find, though the majority are available through Amazon (just click on the link).
It took a French band in Brooklyn, New York to really turn me on to Chicha, the psychedelic Amazonian cumbia that came out of the Peruvian Amazon in the late 1960’s. Cumbias Amazonicas were inspired by Colombian cumbias but added Andean melodies and surf guitars, wah-wah pedals, organs, and synthesizers. Chicha soon spread out from the jungle to the migrant population in Lima and blended even more with popular music in Peru of the time.
Rubber trees grow wild in the Amazon rainforest and at the beginning of the automobile industry the world’s rubber trade was completely reliant on the Amazon jungle. Rubber tappers, mostly indigenous families who were widely exploited, gathered rubber from vast reserves near large Amazonian cities such as Iquitos, Manaus, and Santarem. The trade brought considerable wealth to the region and the rubber barrons lived like royalty in these cities, importing Azulejo tiles and even gourmet foods from Europe.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3) is one of the rare video games I will ever write about here at New World Review. Rarely does the hunt for Latin America’s lost treasures appear in game format (though in my opinion the concept should happen far more often than it does). The game Drake’s Fortune tells the tale of a distant relative of Sir Francis Drake, the legendary pirate who plundered Spanish gold from the South American Pacific to the Caribbean.
Tiempo Santo, or Holy Time, is when god comes down off his pedestal and cannot see the sins of man. On Good Friday, after acknowledging the crucifixion of Christ, the townspeople begin a festival of decadence where, since Jesus is gone, all sins cannot be seen until he rises again on Easter Sunday.
The Greatest List of Books, Films, Music, and TV Shows about Peru ever compiled.