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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Ecuador inserted like a wedge between colombia and peru, and known as the ‘Republic of the equator’, is influenced more by the high Andes that split it from north to south than any tropic. ‘It is always wise to judge people by their altitude,’ the traveller Paul Theroux was counselled, and in Ecuador the tierra caliente of the sea coast, where Panama hats are made, and bananas are a chief export—supplanting cocoa when that crop was ravaged by disease at the turn of the century—has a tropical character distinct from the cool, high sierra and volcanic mountains where the capital Quito lies. A third region is the jungle beyond the Andes, source of the Amazon, occupied by the Jívaro Indians, and subject of long border disputes with Ecuador’s neighbours, and a fourth, the Galapagos (annexed in 1832), whose tortoises were the common fare of American whalers in Darwin’s time, and whose iguana were acceptable meat, ‘for those whose stomachs soar above all prejudices’ (The Voyage of the Beagle).