The Distance from Our Food

The Distance from Our Food
AP Photo/Kin Cheung

“You probably shouldn't cook the animal whole,” Andrés told me over coffee, contemplating a whole pig he had just acquired. We were sitting in a hotel in Volcán, a mountain town in western Panama. Chef Andrés Morataya, whose seaside destination restaurant in another part of Panama is called Panga, was getting ready to cook for a big party. I was one of the guests. Andrés reasoned that it is difficult to cook a whole animal and achieve the same level of doneness through all its parts. An animal had died, and deserved our respectful treatment. Better to butcher it and cook the parts separately.

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