Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Food in Guatemala グアテマラの食べ物事情

Before I went to Guatemala, I had little idea about what the food was going to be like there. I was pleasantly surprised and loved the food. I think the primary reason for that was because my host mom was an excellent cook, just like my real mom.
There was a fridge in the house, but it was not used. My host mother went to the market everyday to get fresh meat and vegetables. Many dishes were simple, but I think they all tasted amazing because of the fact that the ingredients were so fresh. I realized that food doesn't need to be complicated to taste good, the opposite. No fridge, no microwave- machines certainly makes our life more convenient and easier, but there is definitely some important things lost from choosing that option.


The meals in Guatemala worked in a way that lunch was the biggest meal. The breakfasts were quite big too. A typical breakfast would be beans (frijoles), eggs and plantains, but I also had yoghurt, bread, atol (flour based hot drink), or arroz con leche/chocolate.
Lunch was the biggest meal, and when the family got together. My host mom would cook the meal for an hour, sometimes two and often was a meat dish with rice. Of course, these meals were also ALWAYS accompanied by tortillas wrapped in cloth and in a basket. Tortilla culture was huge in Guatemala- there was even a verb for the word for making tortillas, "tortillar" and everyday there would be tortilla vendors coming to deliver fresh tortillas for the meal. When the bell rang and a lady carrying a basket filled with tortillas on her head it reminded me of the tofu vendors in japan that come ring our doorbells. The guatemalan tortillas are different from mexican tortillas, in that they are much smaller but thicker in size.


Dinner was often very very simple. A cup of tea or coffee with a small bowl of noodles, pasta, or soup... or my favorite and same as breakfast, beans (frijoles), eggs and plantains. The lighter meal at the end of the day felt healthier somehow.


There might have not been much diversity in the food, but i always somehow felt satisfied. I think it was the other factors like seeing the mom standing in the kitchen for such a long time, or sitting down all members of the family to enjoy each other's company. You didn't need much more than that to feel happy.


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