Even I think it’s kind of weird. I love to eat, love to cook, love to learn about new cuisines, and yet, I look at my blog and think, “you’d never know it.”
It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write about Guatemalan food. I’ve wanted to share pupusa-making mishaps and talk about how I kind of suck at shaping tortillas, but before I delved into any of that, it seemed like I should be well-versed on the food topic at hand. Like, if I was going to discuss pepián (Guatemala’s iconic chicken stew), then I should I know exactly what ingredients go into it, how thick the sauce for it should be, what its musical preferences are, and which book it would choose if stranded on a desert island.
But here’s the thing: Traditional Guatemalan fare is incredibly idiosyncratic. Even a dish as iconic as pepián differs from one town to the next by as many as a handful of ingredients. It’s impossible to nail down the most authentic or most traditional recipe because it’s completely subjective. For many Guatemalans, an authentic recipe is their grandmother’s recipe, and there are an awful lot of grandmothers out there.
As such, I’ve decided to set aside my neurotic need to get it “right” and to simply share typical Guatemalan food with you the way that I know (and love) it and the way that it’s been prepared for me. This is the food that I buy on the street or from push carts. It’s the food that’s buried under blankets in señoras’ wicker baskets. It’s the food from tiny, super-cheap, hole-in-the-wall comedores. It’s what Guatemalans call comida típica (typical food).
Each Tuesday, as part of series I’m calling Guatemala Eats, I’ll feature a different type of comida típica. The tidbits of info that I’ve learned and will include come from a variety of sources: cooking classes that I’m taking, the kitchen where I help prepare lunch for elderly folks, hours of food conversation with my Spanish teacher, and the many señoras who I’ve peppered with questions. Oh, and from
scarfing down tasting everything myself.
The series starts tomorrow, and what better way than with breakfast? Stop by–and bring your appetite.