Coffee Break

For 3 weeks while G and I were taking Spanish lessons, these two words were music to my ears.  From 10 to 10:30 am, we were able to grab a snack from the ladies who set up shop at the Spanish school next to ours.  My Spanish teacher very quickly discovered my love of food, so we spent a good deal of time discussing it.  She shared with me the ‘snack’ tradition in Guatemala.  My favorites were the tostadas with beans, guac, cabbage and salsa or a taco stuffed with potatoes and covered with the same stuff.  Tostadas and tacos are different then their Mexican counterparts.  The Guatemalan tostada starts with a thicker and crunchier fried corn tortilla.  The Guatemalan tacos are actually rolled up and then fried.  George usually opted for a bread roll (pan) with a chile relleno, guac, beans, hot sauce and cabbage.  For something sweet, he’d grab a rellenitos de plátano (small balls of mashed plantains filled with sweetened black beans, fried and sprinkled with sugar). Another favorite snack was the corn on the cob.  We preferred ours with salt, but the locals smothered them with all kinds of condiments including ketchup.  Truth be told, I kept my distance from the loaded down cobs of corn.

Lunchtime is typically the most substantial meal in Guatemala.  Some local restaurants would have pots of stews sitting in the entrance, which was almost impossible to pass once you caught wind of the smell.   Without fail, they would have ample delicious soups and salads as well for me to try.  George usually opted to try as much meat as possible.  As many of you know, I don’t eat meat and therefore cook primarily veggie food.  If G doesn’t have a big chunk of meat at least every second day, he’s convinced that his body needs meat asap and that he couldn’t possibly carry on.  Eating a big meal at lunch worked out well for both of us, because I could cook veggie for dinner without any complaints.

One of the dishes that I really enjoyed was vegetarian pepian.  The dish almost tastes like an Indian curry because you begin by toasting spices in a dry pan.  I also highly recommend the panaderias (bakeries) in Guatemala – plenty of fresh bread and sweets to choose from.

G and I celebrated the completion of our Spanish classes with some frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts followed by a few too many Quetzalteca + sprite.


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