Preparations for a Feast
At a certain time of the year, the Indians are accustomed to celebrate feasts among themselves, and for this purpose they have specially chosen cooks. They begin by putting a large, round, clay pot (so well made that water can boil in it just as well as in our vessels) on some logs which they light, while one of them holds a fan to encourage the flames. The chief cook throws what has to be cooked into the great pot; others pour water which has been brought to them in a vessel shaped like a bucket into a hole for washing; another uses a flat stone to crush the herbs to season the food; and meanwhile women are busy sorting out what is necessary for the cooking. In spite of these great feasts the Indians are very moderate in their eating, thanks to which they live to a great age. One of their chiefs asserted to me that he was three hundred years old and that his father, whom he pointed out to me, was fifty years older than he. It is true to say that on looking at him, he seemed all skin and bones. The Indians put us Christians to shame, for we, by over-indulgence in food and drink, shorten our lives considerably. We should attend the Barbarian school in order to learn temperance.
All translations are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).