For a taste of ancient Peruvian cuisine, head to Vermont
In the pit he burned a couple of hickory logs that would heat the stones for the next few hours. Then he went in to make the humitas and mixed corn with cinnamon, anise, clove, vanilla and sugar to make a paste. The meat was in the dining room and marinated in earthy huacatay or Peruvian black mint, oregano, spearmint, ají amarillo, ají panca, garlic and soy sauce (a nod to the Chinese and Japanese influences in Peruvian cuisine).
In the kitchen, Ms. Rondeau prepared a creamy, slightly spicy Huancaína sauce from her native Guatemala with salt crackers, ají amarillo, olive oil, garlic, onions, cream and queso fresco; Mr. Guadalupe made a childhood salsa with green chillies, mustard, salt, mayonnaise and huacatay.
When the stones were hot enough for the water to sizzle on contact, Mr. Guadalupe orchestrated the layering of ingredients, starting with the potatoes cooking at the hottest temperature and ending with the humitas and herbs.
Once the banana leaves and soil were draped over them and the cross was planted, Mr. Guadalupe relaxed. When he was 13, his father once forgot to place the cross – this is to keep the devil from interfering with the cooking – and all the food came out raw.
“You can’t fix it,” said Mr. Guadalupe. “It’s ruined.”