I'll be returning to the US anywhere from Februrary to May of this year depending on how quickly the US Embassy processes our papers. I still have a lot of pending third quarter reports that I'll get to. I was preoccupied with Spanish school in the past few months.
However, I thought I'd get this final section started with the New Year's Day meal at a relative's house.
The first photo is the basic kitchen set-up for many houses in Guatemala. No oven, just a stovetop fueled by Z-gas a company that provides the canisters you see below the stovetop for cooking.
There's a supplementary wood-fueled grill next to it. Out in the yard was a poyo topped with a comal to heat tortillas. A poyo is a few cinderblocks put together with a wood fire in the center. It is probably the most common type of stove in much of Gautemala.
The first step was going down to the river to get the fish. There's a farm near there and the owner asks how many fish you want and goes off and catches them.
The ladies then gutted the live fish in the pila, a sink that everyone has in Guatemal ... country or city. The pila is made of concrete and has three sections. In the middle is the deepest with a hose and running water. There are two shallow basins on each side. The photo below is the pila we have at home. We have a regular kitchen, as do many, but there's always a pila somewhere. Antigua Daily photo did a great series on building pilas
While the fish was frying, iceberg lettuce for the salad was chopped up and washed in the pila in a large bucket filled with water from the hose. At home, something is added to the water when washing most veggies. I didn't see that here ... and yet I live.
The requisite live poultry and house dog wandered around the yard and kitchen.
As always in Guatemala, the fish was fabulous. The skin crisp, the white flesh moist and delicate. Forget about all the dishes you think you should eat in Guatemala ... pepian, kak'ik, etc. The stars of this cuisine are the fried fish and grilled meats.
The lettuce was a refreshing compliment, lightly dressed with oil and vinegar. The tortillas with nice char marks and a smokey touch from the fire were constantly replenished hot off the comal throughout the meal. Coca Cola for the kids and Gallo beer for the adults .. ok, the men plus me ... the woman in our family don't drink.
This relative has banana plants and a bunch of bananas was strung up on the porch and people pulled off bananas to eat after dinner.
It was a nice way to start the New Year.
Should anyone have a missionary attitude about the living conditions ... one son is in med school, two cousins are system engineers, the husband has a good job in a local company. There's a brand new truck in the yard and a pretty nice home video system inside. There's often this contrast in Gautemala of the modern and ancient worlds coexisting.
Guatemalan Cuisine – 3rd quarter report