Pit cookery is familiar all over the world: in Hawaii, there is the luau, the Maya have the pib, and we have curanto. Curanto has always been part of a coming-of-age rite of the Tehuelche people of Patagonia. Traditionally, it began when the chief took his place, surrounded by the bare-breasted maidens of the tribe. To attract the attention and win the favor of the young ladies, the young men danced and engaged in feats of horsemanship. All in attendance sipped a fermented corn beverage. Over the course of eight days of drinking and dancing and even animal sacrifice (involving removing the beating heart from a prize mare), people whipped themselves into an ecstatic and inebriated state. The communal meal was a curanto of potatoes, corn, squashes, guanaco (a cousin to the llama), rhea (ostrich), and, in later times, lamb, beef, and pork. In a less wild form, this rite is still practiced by the Tehuelche to mark the first full moon of spring.