The chola who worked for my grandfather preparing the cuyes.
Nate eating cuy
Tia Lala kissing the head, which she said has very tender meat
Date: November 3, 2009
Weather: Very breezy, the kind of weather my host mother says brings sickness
Cuy. Oh, cuy. In Ambato two years ago, I didn't mind eating the little rodent. It tasted like gamey barbecued meat and not much else. This time, sitting in my grandfather's kitchen that smelled slightly of chicken poo and wet dog, I was not able to eat much of it.
I don't know it if was the smell, or seeing the bloody corpses two days before, or the tiny paw with nails that was attached to my piece of meat, or simply the fact that I had seen the entire preparation and known the meat still had traces of hair. It was one of the more trying meals I've ever eaten. I could barely even bring myself to eat the mote or rice beside it because I was positive that the odor had penetrated the starch to alter their tastes. Nate scarfed his down and asked for seconds while his mom, Tia Lala, munched on the tiny strips of meat on a head.
I hate feeling like a gringa and I never would refuse the meal but I did push it around a bit and sneak some to Nate's plate. I love having him as my "primo" in Ecuador.
I was glad , though, when Mama Isa led Nate and I outside the house after lunch to look at the cuy in their little cages. They are a cash crop to many families in Ecuador, selling up to $20 in restaurants. My mom pointed to the surrounding houses in el Valle and told me, in a very disapproving voice, that most of them had guinea-pigs living inside the houses.
Two meals of the creatures have been more than enough for me. I tried it, but now I think I'm over it.