Friday, September 16, 2011

Food Exhaustion In Guatemala

When I think of food, I think of many things. Not usually eating the same thing every single day.

When I think of Mexico, the US, or even the rather odd grocery stores of NZ, I see, in my little -j. head, an insane variety of foods.

When I step into the supermarket or open-air market here in Guatemala, though, I don't see any such thing.

If I'm lucky, I see a bunch of packaged food (made with beef fat, yum). Then I cruise past some staples (flour, corn, cornmeal, corn tortillas, corn tortilla mix, oil). And the deli counter. And on (in the supermarket, anyway--in the open-air market I have to cruise past a variety of strange animals in various stages of life/death first) to the veggies.

Right now, in Guatemala, the veggies, the ones that aren't refrigerated, anyway, are tomatoes, potatoes (imported and "nacional"), avocados from Mexico, white onions, garlic imported from China, the odd squash, a couple large but sad looking cabbages, and papaya or banana for fruit.

Oh, and an odd purple/green leafy herb thing. Epazote, maybe? Dunno. Plus a couple sad looking jalapenos.

In the cooler there are some summer squish, unripe tomatoes, greenbeans, corn (cheaper by the basket-load in the *real* market), and a couple other things.

And that's it for veggies. There's some bread, a bunch of (really bad) wine, pasta, mac and cheese, and cleaning products. I think that pretty much finishes off the store.

Oh, sorry, and a couple random spice racks with different brands of spices, a bunch of small fridges with dairy products in them, and those wire rolling basket thingies (big ones like they sell pillows out of back home) full of sugar and rice and beans in bags.

And that's the grocery store. The market is about a dozen times more crazy, more likely to get pick-pocketed, and half the cost. But the same selection.

So since leaving Lake Atitlan for Antigua, I've eaten potatoes. And pasta. And pizza made with refried beans instead of pasta sauce. And the odd bit of processed cheese. And pancakes.

For flavor and nutrition I've had beans, garlic, onion, tomato and oil.

You want to know 12 shiny new ways to use flour, onion, tomato, oil, salt, sugar, and beans? Give me a day, I'll write them down. But I'm running out of ideas. I actually bought *dried* black beans today, I'm so sick of what I've been eating.

I dream in magical piles of food. Food my stomach misses. Food like pickles and saurkraut. Food like cheesey mashed potatoes. Food like basil and olives and vinegar.

And Brussles sprouts. And vegan mayo. And taco seasoning. And vegetables that aren't tomato, onion, or potato.

And, while in the peak of mango season I thought I could never eat another, now that mango season seems to be over, I'd kill for one of those tasty little monsters. Not the big round-ish green ones, no, the "sunrise" or "strawberry" types. Smaller, with softer sweeter flesh. Less grainy, not as stringy. Made of forking magic.

Looks like I'll be making a run to Mexico anyway, huh?

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