Thursday, June 17, 2010

Belize, Beach and of course FOOD.

So I'm in Belize for my aforementioned 2 months of predissertation research. I arrived this past Tuesday. In two days I have already amassed over 16 pages of typed notes from what we anthropologists like to call participant observation (otherwise known as wandering around, watching people, hanging out, helping out and chatting folks up). Since my area of focus is food my participant observation has involved a lot of eating and a lot of grocery shopping. I just wanted to share a couple delicacies with you.

Like mangoes! I have eaten two since I got here, one the size of my two fists, and one only a little bigger than a golf ball and sweet as sin. I love the wide range of mangoes available in the tropics. Ladyslipper, "hairy mango", Tommy Atkins, Julie mango, and those are only a very few of the many different shapes, sizes and flavours. Mangoes grow very well in the sandy, generally crappy soils found in this part of Belize, and especially on the penninsula that Placencia is on, which is basically just a strip of sand. The one pictured above is only about 2 inches long and fantastically sweet and flavourful.

What, ask you, are those other things? Those, my friend, are what we call "tableta" or "cuttabrute" a must for all coconut lovers, its made out of local brown sugar and grated coconut cooked together with coconut water and either pressed into a pan and cut into squares or shaped into bite size balls like these. I obtained both the cuttabrute and the mini-mango from this lady:

This is Ms.B. (for the sake of privacy I dont reveal her full name). She is a born and bred resident of Placencia and an excellent cook who has one of the best kitchens in the world. Check it out under the coconut tree, a mere 10 feet from the Caribbean.

You get to catch the sea breeze while you cook over the open bbq grill. She had rice (made with coconut oil) and jerk chicken (not a traditional Belizean dish, but thanks to tourism, one that you see around Placencia). I bought a plate and hung out with her for a while. It wasnt my only meal of the day. I started out with fresh corn tortillas from the tortilla factory down the street from my house, my big mango that a friend gave me,

local honey, hot tea and some cheese. And after my meal with Ms. B, I walked down the main road to Tutti Frutti, an Italian run Gelateria featuring tropical flavours like mango, coconut, banana, lime, soursop and the classic rum and raisin, with local rum. After my banana and rum and raisin I was ready for a nap. Thank goodness for siesta time! Tomorrow, I head to my family farm in Toledo District. Its only two boat rides and a bus away, and we are planning to catch some land crabs and have a crab boil while Im there. I'll be taking pictures, so stay tuned!

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