Calvin Trillin is a fanesca fanatic. By tradition, this stew incorporates 12 types of beans—one for each of the Christian apostles—into a stock made from salt cod, rendering the dish briny beneath its earthy bean component. Served all over Ecuador during Holy Week (the seven days preceding Easter), the thick potage constitutes a kind of culinary penance. "Does each apostle have his own bean?" I asked Trillin. "Not sure, but it's not a bad idea," was his reply. A steaming bowl of fanesca often leads to such theological speculation. Trillin fell in love with fanesca during a trip to Ecuador he made to investigate another local delicacy, ceviche. I myself enjoyed a bowl of the stuff while hiking around Otavalo in the northern highlands, where I stayed at an eco-lodge that looked out across a valley to a pair of dormant volcanoes. That valley was carpeted... More >>>