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Of Pigs and Pets

May 26, 1999

Great story on the guinea pigs (Forklore, "Guinea Pig: The Other Other White Meat," April 21). My wife grew up in the small Amazon jungle town of Yurimaguas in Peru. She told me that in the jungle the correct pronunciation is coo-yay, not coo-ee.

On my last visit to her folks, who now live in Pucallpa, the capital of the state of Ucayali, her mom made cuys for lunch at my request. We lay in bed the evening before the lunch listening to the sound of the meat cleaver on the chopping board as she prepared the cuys, which she had raised in the backyard.

I must admit that the chile- (or aji, as chile is known in Peru) peanut sauce was quite tasty, even though there was barely enough meat on the critter to satisfy me. I prefer rabbits. She also had some cat-size rodents, to which she fed yuccas, wandering around the backyard. I heard they were also very tasty, but didn't have the opportunity to try them.

BOB BEBERFALL

Ontario

Did you really need to "go there" about the guinea pigs?

JOANNE JOE

West Covina

I rarely have time to read the Food section but I'm very glad I did. Charles Perry's article on the guinea pig was most informative and accurate and basically confirmed what I had been telling my friends for years.

I was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and though cuys were not a main staple for us city folks, I did get a chance to try picante de cuy during a couple of visits to the beautiful Andean countryside.

Peruvians react in disbelief when they learn that guinea pigs are sold here in pet stores, just as Americans cringe in horror when they learn that guinea pigs are raised in Peru for human consumption. Thanks for the educational article.

MARIA AYALA-AGUILAR JONES

Pasadena

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