One of my favorite things about traveling is the opportunity to sample foods that I don’t normally eat. At school my diet consists of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and something quick and easy for dinner — Panda Express being my favorite in this latter category. Here in Guatemala, it has been a true blessing to have fresh meals cooked each day by my house mother Aldina. The menu for the past month has consisted of combinations of:
Breakfast – Pancakes, eggs with salsa, tortillas, black beans, toasted sandwiches (ham, hotdog, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, and mayo), fruits (papaya, mango, watermelon, pineapple, plantains), corn flakes with warm milk, and mosh (similar to very milky oatmeal)
Lunch and Dinner – Carrot soufflé, rice, tortillas, cucumbers and tomatoes in vinegar, black beans, eggs, chicken (covered in onions, bell peppers, and salsa), hotdog tacos, carne asada, vegetable soup, carrots and potatoes, fried plantains, tortas (similar to hamburgers on tortillas), paches (rice, steak, and mole), green bean rellenos, and plantain envueltos.
Here is Aldina cooking my favorite food in Guatemala, fried plantains, by candle light one night when the power went:
Each day we have fresh tortillas that are made at a tortilleria named Los Comalitos that is only a block from my house. Three ladies operate this business, and they go through 75 pounds of corn per day as they hand pat 2,000 tortillas. They work from sunrise to past sunset each day. Here is one photo of Mary and Norma (18) who have both been doing this for ten years and another of me making my first tortilla!
At my Spanish School, Sakribal, we have weekly meals where the students and teachers cook. The first week I cooked fried oreos (Oreos fritos) and they were a huge hit. Since then I have watched globalization take place as three of the teachers at the school informed me that they went home and made them as breakfast items for their children. All of the kids loved them, and the teachers added a little fruit surrounding them for a little more balance!
Last week at the school we had some of the best pork I’ve had in a very long time. We had fresh chicharrones (pigskins with a little meat on them) and carnitas which are traditionally eaten by families on weekends.
Other random food finds:
These are macadamia nuts at the Nueva Alzenaia planation. We visited there last week and were able to see the processes they use to produce coffee, macadamia nuts, spring water, and biodisel.
A Chocolateria in Xela:
If you buy a glass bottle Coke, most stores will pour it in a bag for you so that they can keep the bottle and give it back to the manufacturer for refilling.
Every Guatemalan I’ve met loves to put ketchup on top of their pizza. I sampled this trend when I bought Dominoes for my family one night, and I can report that it tasted exactly how I expected. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t terrible, and the whole time I asked myself why I put ketchup on top of a perfectly fine slice of pizza.
And finally, here is a picture of the family I live with and some of their friends eating Shrimp Creole that I cooked last night.