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Overview of Guatemalan Cuisine HistoryEdit

The heart of the Maya civilization, Guatemala has a long deep history, older than 2000 years, a history that has put a mark on the country's culture, and even cooking traditions. The variety of dishes found in the cuisine has been influenced by other cuisines from all over the world.

Most Guatemalan families heavily rely on subsistence farming, cultivating their lands to provide their families with necessary aliments. A range of natural disasters and weather conditions that happen from time to time in these regions can cause food shortages and lost income for people who rely on earth’s beneficial rewards.

In the Pacific and Caribbean parts, the fertile plains were used for centuries for cattle, sugar cane and cotton, and for fruit plantation. They are still used today for the same purposes, with very much success. The predominant part of the economy as been and still is today, the agriculture one. Coffee plantations, cotton, Sugar, corn and beans, and bananas are the main basic food elements that grow in Guatemala, and that serve as main ingredients in their cuisine.

Because of its geographical position, the Guatemala cuisine has been influenced along the course of time by the Mexican cuisine, the North American one, and even European influences, which added to the mixture of dishes in this cuisine.

Cuisines of Guatemala Edit

Map of Guatemala

Map of Guatemala- Click to enlarge

With a strong culture that has its roots in an ancient civilization’s culture, the lands of Guatemala all have been influenced by a variety of global cuisines that include dishes from around the world. On a regular basis one may find dishes with a Mexican influence, such as tamales, enchiladas and guacamole that all have a very spicy hot taste, but also outsider ones, such as burgers and fries, and even Chinese food. Depending of the country’s region, you may find variations of the same dish, depending on the methods used to cook the meal. But usually, the cuisine offers the same dishes in all parts of the country.

Areas of the Petén and Izabal regions of Guatemala were several indigenous states on the central highlands. In these parts, cooking traditions have been kept since the Maya civilization has populated the country.

Together with the food served, special local drinks are available. "Gallo" is a light beer that is usually served by visitors to the country, and "Moza" is a darker beer, preferred by the locals. "Quetzalteca” is a very strong drink, literally tasting like fire-water, and only a trained person can drink more than just a sip of this drink. Sugar, being cultivated all over the country, is a great source for the specific Guatemalan rum, served by locals, and you will also find coffee as one of the best available in the world.

Preparation Methods for Guatemalan Cooking Edit

In the preparation methods, is important not only to know where ingredients and species come from, but you also need to know how to choose them, when to buy them if they are fresh, and how they are best used, prepared, or combined in dishes. Hot condiments are often used in the preparation methods, such as chilies and pepper. The Guatemalans will often use basic dishes to complete others. Such example is the fried plantains which are used as an accompaniment to Beef or goat dishes. Regarding these Plátanos, to make the best recipe of Plátanos fritos, is very important to use ripe plantains, the ones that have black skins. Green plantains will be much too dry.

When preparing appetizers or snacks in the Guatemalan cuisine, this can be done very fast if the tortillas are already prepared. So make sure you have them available at all times to reduce time when preparing a Guatemalan meal.

Special Equipment for Guatemalan Cooking Edit

In the Guatemalan cooking process, ceramic dishes and plates with floral design are representative and very typical. Being inherited from their ancestors, the Maya civilization, wooden spatulas and pottery are frequently used in the cooking process. Also, baking pots and dishes are very popular in the Guatemalan cuisine, since a lot of meals are prepared in the oven rather than on electric fire.

Deep serving dishes are required for the traditional Guatemalan soups, for the Cak-Ik and for the special Guatemalan stews, such as Tapado. You need to consider cover lids and insulated food carriers to keep the temperature of the food constant, if you plan on serving the dishes at their optimized temperature. Because of the fact that the stews and the soups get cold really fast, and because you have to put the meats inside the boiling pans at the right temperature, a thermometer would be a wise choice for you to acquire in your Guatemalan kitchen.

Guatemalan Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

Guatemala is a country with a rich inheritance, being the center of the ancient Mayan culture, the most advanced cultures of the South America. The dialects still spoken today are a great part of their rituals and traditions. A lot of celebrations take place, most of them commemorating ancient gods of Mayan culture, and food offerings are placed on high-grounded platters for those gods.

Easter is one of the most important festivals in Guatelaman culture, and a festival filled with lots of eatting traditions.Specific dances take place, people being dressed up in colorful native costume of bolero jacket, short embroidered pants and turban hats. Huehuetenango and Totonicapan are two villages where traditions are respected in the same way they have been kept centuries ago by local Myan people. Traditional Jacon dish is prepared as well as other specific Guatemalan dishes, and people get together with their entire families to celebrate Easter. The Totonicapan Dance Festival takes place in August and represents a celebration of centuries-old tradition and the K'iche Mayan's treasured cultural heritage. Lots of dances and food offerings are prepared by locals, and people celebrate all day long, and spend time cooking delicious traditional meals.

People in Guatemalan Food Edit

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People in Guatemalan food have had centuries of influences on their cooking skills, and techniques past from generation to generation. History behind cooking methods and influences has been kept secret from the large majority of people from other cultures. The Mayan civilization still holds secrets till this day about their culture, values and even cooking methods. Combining available ingredients depends on the chef’s personal method, and can result in Guatemalan dishes that will become even more original and delicious than the already spectacular ones.

Having the Mayan traditions in their blood, the people in the Guatemalan food put their heart and spirit in whatever they prepare, and sometimes mix ingredients to come up with an original recipe that will serve to you with great pleasure.

So if you want to try a special Guatemalan dish, all you can do is enjoy a meal prepared by one of the specialists in this domain, and trust his judgment and skills.

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