The author places a sotol "heart" within an experimental earth oven. The food is placed on prickly pear pads, which provide moisture and prevent the food from charring. The hot rocks are below the prickly pear pads. After more packing material (prickly pear pads and the leaves of the sotol and lechuguilla) is placed on top of the food, a thick layer of dirt is added to cover the oven and seal in the heat in as it cooks for a day or two. Photograph courtesy of the Ancient Southwest Texas Project, Texas State University.