One of my favorite things about being back in latinoamerica is getting to eat all the foods I’ve been missing. Our Xela diet is pretty similar to what I remembered from honduras or ecuador but with some new things thrown in, mostly because our host dad QuiQue (short for enrique) is a really great cook! We are seriously spoiled by our awesome host family.
Breakfasts are always a big bowl of sliced pineapple, bananas and papaya for each of us, with a rotating cast of carbs for us to put the fruit on. Cornflakes with milk, mosh (i.e. oatmeal, but way more liquidy than at home, and pronounced ‘mush.’ Trying to explain in Spanish the concept of ‘mush!’ as a command to dogs in a sled race was pretty interesting), or panqueques (yum!!). Every once in a while we instead have a typical eggs and refried beans breakfast instead- with the incredible black-refried-beans-in-a-bag, which I’m sure are chock full of fat and sodium to make them taste so good. And I always get a cup of black tea with milk and sugar, heaven! Like I said, spoiled.
Lunches and dinners are all over the place but always delicious. I think most of the other students eat a standard eggs/beans/tortillas for many meals, while we are lucky to have tons more fruits and veggies. Some of our favorites-
-essentially a healthier carrot cole slaw, made of shaved carrots, vinegar, salt, and a little mayonnaise
-a spinach cake made of 95% spinach and 5% egg white, plus a little salt
-lentils with rice and indian spices, a recipe quique learned from an Indian family who rented a room for a while
-vegetable soup with huge pieces of lots of unknown veggies, which we eat first for lunch and then again puréed for dinner
-FRIED PLANTAINS my favorite. I like the sweet ones and I think the variety I can find in the states is different because they never turn out quite the same when I make them. Quique’s are sweet and caramelized and just so good. He’s also made them boiled a couple of times which is amazing.
– and at least once or twice a day, the beans in a bag. Yum.
For snacks there are always plantains or tiny crazysweet madarinas laying around, or we sometimes buy a little taco or empanada or deep fried chile relleno from the woman who comes to the school during our morning class break. You can get lots of great stuff on the street too, at the risk of mild or not-so-mild GI upset: frozen chocolate covered bananas, tons of little frozen granitas (essentially snow cones with condensed milk and other stuff), bags of cut up fruit covered in salt and ground up squash seeds, and ceviche in a cup (i kid you not- street ceviche in a cup.) And then Tuesday an Friday are bakeshop days (the Mennonite bakery) so we can grab a doughnut or something else delicious. Last Friday was valentines day, so we got our host fam a loaf of bakeshop carrot/ginger/honey bread which they scarfed down pretty quickly- quique admits that he also has a sweet tooth, one of the many reasons we get along so well🙂
There have been some odder things too- at Dona Ana’s house I’m pretty sure I ate a corn-based tripe soup, and drank some sort of hot corn tea. And then this past weekend in momostenango we had a hot broccoli/orange/lettuce salad, which was really good. And a breakfast of cut up fruit covered with honey and peanuts(?). Also one of our host brothers, Daniel, has his own ajo aioli sauce business, so we often eat that with veggies. It’s kinda like a super duper garlicky tartar sauce.
All in all the eating is good here in Guatemala. And the number of crazy fruits you can buy for a song on the street (either still in peel or get some fruit wash) is incredible!