Peruvian writer Iván Thays boiled up controversy on Thursday, as a >blog post he wrote the day before for the Spanish daily El País included some harsh criticism of his home country’s cuisine.
Thays wrote that Peruvian food is “indigestible and unhealthy. Almost without exception, it is a boring heap of carbohydrates, an inexplicable mix of ingredients (many of which are quite delicious on their own, it must be said, because they are of the highest quality) which any nutritionist should prohibit. Anytime someone speaks about the fame of Peruvian food in the world, I think of the deficiencies of a country that needs the recognition of the outside world to feel respect for itself.”
The comments set off a storm of criticism in the Peruvian press and social media sites. Gaston Acurio posted “Is it wrong to be proud of what is ours? To celebrate with a healthy ceviche, tiradito or sudadito in hand, to dream of a world with a Peruvian heart is wrong?” on his Facebook account.
Flavio Solarzano, chef at El Señorio de Sulco, told El Comercio that “Recognition of Peruvian food goes beyond any one Peruvian or foreigner. I don’t consider Thays anti-Peruvian, but he shouldn’t write things so lightly.”
In a response today, Thays wrote that he had become “the most hated person” in Peru. “What did I do to deserve such bile? Did I kill someone, rob a bank, line up for FC Barcelona, pose with Britney Spears? Worse than that. I wrote that Peruvian food was indigestible,” he added.
He wrote “I ask myself, at no time, in the midst of this clamor of tweets, did they realize that they were making themselves look ridiculous by turning the fact that Peruvian doesn’t like Inka Cola into a topic of national interest? Have they realized, for example, that the majority of twenty-something Peruvians don’t know what Sendero Luminoso was or know what the initials MRTA stand for? Did it not occur to them to say something about that, or is it better to continue with the lynching of Thays, as it is more fun?”
He added, “If there is one thing more indigestible than Peruvian food, it is parochial patriotism.”
Writer Ivan Thays cooked up controversy with his negative remarks.