Comidas que Curan was born in 2012 as a collaborative independent project by a team anthropologists, educators and filmmakers to document the good practices found in the healing and food traditions of Ecuador and Latin America. We seek to re-value and educate about our culture’s invaluable culinary and healing knowledge by recovering the memories about eating, feeding and healing remembered and practiced by our parents, grandparents and ancestors.
Our project does not pretend to return to a romantic or immutable past. We acknowledge that the culinary and healing practices and knowledge constantly change and adjust to the needs and conditions of their time–there are no original, authentic or “pure” recipes. We acknowledge that modernity brought techniques and technologies that facilitated the otherwise arduous everyday chores of our parents and grandparents. However, that same modernity has brought along lifestyles and foods that are negatively impacting our health.
This is a project to learn critically from our history and from our elders in Latin America. We draw inspiration from the bodies filled with health and strength of our grandparents and ancestors, which are a testimony of effective healing, caring and feeding knowledge systems (saberes) that were tested and perfected over centuries. This healing and food knowledge lies, to a large extent, in the unwritten archives of our elders’ memories.
Raspando Coco is our second documentary project. Find out more by visiting the official website: www.raspandococo.com
Watch the film trailer below.
Program Title: Ecuador Culinary Route: A road trip.
Summer Program Dates: July 29 to August 10, 2023 (12 days)
Fall Program Dates: October 4 to 16, 2023 (12 days)
Location(s): Quito, Andean Chocó Forest & select coastal towns in Manabí, Ecuador.
Deadline to Apply for Summer Program: October 30th, 2022
Deadline to Apply for Fall Program: May 1, 2023
Lead Instructor: Pilar Egüez Guevara, PhD. Director/Founder Comidas Que Curan Learn more.
This 11 day long experiential program is an introduction to Ecuadorian Culture and History of Food. Immerse yourself in the diversity of local cultures through a guided exploration of traditional and ancestral food and medicinal practices across different microclimates in selected highland and coastal sites. We will travel by road over 11 days visiting and staying in cities, organic farms, eco-reserves and the beach, experiencing food at its source by collecting, making and tasting a curated menu of culturally meaningful foods. Experience the communities and their culinary cultures through guided cooking & tasting experiences, fishing/harvesting, hands-on making of regional dishes, traditional food and culture ceremonies. Put your experience into context through classes and workshops with local experts on food history and food anthropology of Ecuador with a focus on highlands and coastal cultures, forest conservation and seed saving. The selected program locations are Quito, the Andean Chocó, Calceta, Canoa, Salango and Puerto López.
- This program is designed for individuals of all ages interested in learning through experience. We particularly welcome learners curious about how food arrived in their plates: where it comes from, how it is made and who makes it. Adventurous learners willing to to step out of their sensory comfort zone and experience new tastes, smells and textures are particularly suited for this program.
- This program is also for people interested in learning and getting involved with forest conservation, regenerative agriculture and seed saving in Ecuador.
- Having previous experience traveling abroad is a plus. Having basic knowledge of the Spanish language is also a plus, but is not required.
- The residency will be held in English.
- A road-trip from highlands to coast, stopping at sites carefully curated for their unique local food experiences in a mega-diverse country: a colonial city in the Andean highlands, a biodiverse hotspot in the Andean Chocó Forest, and a culinary paradise in Manabí province, stopping at various coastal towns along the Spondylus route.
- Understanding of the historical and cultural context, origins, transformations, cultural significance and value of the foods you will be tasting in each one of the sites. Theoretical and hands-on learning of ancestral cooking techniques, utensils and foods.
- Experience regional cuisine. Understand the tight relationship between ecosystems, agricultural practices, local history and regionally specific dishes as we travel across different microclimates, from the high altitude capital, through the sub-tropical Chocó Forest, to the northern Ecuadorian coast in the Pacific.
- Learn practical skills, techniques and recipes with heritage ingredients such as plantains, yuca, peanuts, corn, fermented drinks, cacao, coffee, and other non-conventional plants, as well as local and native varieties of fish, seafood and pork.
- Indulge yourself in hands-on making and tasting the world’s best chocolate from the oldest known cacao plants.
“Dr. Egüez-Guevara led my study abroad trip to Cuba in 2015. I walked into our trip knowing nothing about the country, but in the month that our group was together, I was given the opportunity to learn deeply about history, culture, food, and films in collaboration with my peers and local experts. However, this experience could not have been what it was had it not been led by Pilar. Her profound care, enthusiasm, and expertise were felt every day as we unpacked complicated texts and stumbled through the everyday quirks, challenges, and joys that come with being a foreigner in Havana. Dr. Egüez-Guevara prepared us to feel challenged and push through those feelings. This was one of the most meaningful moments in my academic career. I learned a lot of critical thinking tools, as well as important things about myself as a scholar and activist. Returning from this experience, I knew that I wanted to be an anthropologist in the way that Dr. Egüez-Guevara is an anthropologist.” Michelle Patiño, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
“El conocer transforma. In the summer of 2015 I decided to embark on my first study abroad experience Cuba: History, Film, Culture led by Dr. Egüez Guevara. The experience changed my life and become one of the most valuable learning experiences during my undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois. Dr. Eguez Guevara is an intentional, knowledgeable, and kind person. For our program, she made sure to create a line up of lecturers, local experiences, and even food places to showcase the fruits & history of a country that often times gets blurred by main stream media. My time at Cuba was far from tourism, it was a time to reflect on my position in the world as a global citizen & a first-generation Mexican-American. The impact was so grand, that I came back with a different mindset and eagerness to want to learn more and do more. I went from being an undecided student to declaring my major in Latina/o Studies, being an agent of change, and studying abroad two more times. I highly recommend embarking on global studies with Dr. Pilar as she will make sure you get an experience that is enriching and genuine.” Yadira Ramírez, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
“In my undergraduate career as a double major in Latina/o/x Studies and Theatre Studies, the processes of rigorous theoretical debates often sparked room for contemplation & scholarly inquiry. At an impasse that I felt at the time personally between different literatures, disciplines, schools of thought: my time studying abroad at Centro de Estudios Martíanos under the poised, generous Dr. Pilar Eguez shifted my trajectory as a learner. Creating intellectual bridges and discernment between vast, complex political histories in Cuba, her ability to cross reference, adapt, & mold multifaceted ideas about cultural anthropology as it may relate to the world we inhabit in-community with each other, was unmatched. Participating in a well crafted course framing history as a space to understand the arts and vice versa brought new visions to my perspective as an artist-scholar carrying my own Caribbean lineages and heritage as its own semilla for thoughtful study of self, and one's own purpose.“ Mateo Rodriguez-Hurtado, Co-Founder of The Brown Theatre Collective
Send an email with the information below to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following documents no later than the deadlines below.
- A letter of motivation explaining in a maximum of 500 words why you want to participate in this program (or a video explanation in no more than 2 minutes).
- Your resume or CV and name and contact information for at least one reference.
For questions and full program details contact us at: email@example.com or you can call/text to +1-617-230-9152 (Whatsapp)
To request a screening contact us.
Raspando Coco at Ancestral Health Symposium
Raspando Coco at Pacific Oaks College, CA / CETYS, Mexico
La Tonga de Olivia, El Bollo de Dolores, El Rompope de Angélica at Calceta and Jaboncillo, Ecuador and on Facebook LIVE (3:00pm US Central Time)
Pilar is an Ecuadorian cultural anthropologist, writer and filmmaker, who specializes in food, culture, conflict and health. She is co-founder and director of Comidas que Curan, an independent education initiative and film distributor that blends ethnography and film to document and teach about food traditions and transformations in Ecuador and Latin America. She is director and producer of Raspando Coco, an award-winning documentary about the culinary and medicinal traditions of Afro-Ecuadorians. She is also a certified conflict mediator and coach.
Jesus is a computer engineer and economist. He was the photographer and cinematographer of Raspando coco and he participated in the research and production of the Manabí 2012 documentary project. Jesus is the creative and technical manager of our film distribution operations.
Alejandra is the dean of the School of Literature at Universidad de las Artes, Ecuador. She is founder of La Poderosa Media Project, a non profit organization that uses storytelling towards community transformation through art-schools in Latin America and the United States. Alejandra directed the 5 documentary shorts of the Manabí 2012 project. Learn more about Alejandra here.
Esteban is a photo & video artist and tourism professional from Bahía de Caráquez, Manabí where he is a culture & community activist. He works with grassroots organizations and local museums to promote Manabí's traditional culture and history. Esteban worked as a mentor for our youth film & ethnography education program and he wrote the script and edited our community-based short documentary series. in Calceta (2021-2022).
Jen is a sophomore at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, studying Physics and Philosophy. She is a second-generation American, she is bilingual and fluent in English and Spanish. Jen supports Comidas Que Curan with translation skills in creating accurate film subtitling.
Rachel is a sophomore at Wellesley College studying Computer Science. Food was the main way she experienced her hometown growing up in Miami through different Latino cultures. As a student she has also studied food in Cuba, her family’s home. In her free time, she designs and plays video games. Rachel supports our film distribution and social media content creation.
Sophie is a senior at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, studying Studio Art and Middle Eastern Studies. She is a multicultural, hardworking and creative leader who grew up between France and the United States. A skilled video artist with work experience in 5 languages, she is dedicated to transcending borders through the power of food and media. Sophie supports our film distribution efforts in product design, creating and translating subtitles, designing posters and producing videos about our food education projects. You can learn more about Sophie here.
La Poderosa Media Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes creative autonomy and collaborative learning through community-based arts programs for children and young adults in the Americas.Take me there
La Red de Guardianes de Semillas conecta a familias que protegen la agrobiodiversidad y promueven sistemas regenerativos de vida en Ecuador.Take me there
En el año de 1997 se realizó en Bogotá el I Encuentro Internacional sobre Estudios de Fiesta y Nación y como conclusión se proyectaron varias labores: la creación de la Corporación de Estudios Interculturales Aplicados – INTERCULTURA y, como eje de la misma, la consolidación de la Red Internacional de Investigadores en Estudios de Fiesta, Nación y Cultura – REDRIEF. Actualmente, la red cuenta con alrededor de 300 investigadores de varias naciones del mundo.Take me there
We carry out documentary, research and education projects in Latin America and the United States.