The morning of my departure to Belize was punctuated with a hold up at the ticket counter. “Your going to Belize to eat?”  Don’t they have all those crazy foods? I watch those shows. I’m too picky.” pronounced my ticket agent in Boston. Between my aching arms trying to lift what I was sure was a bag filled with too many pairs of shorts, she began to tell me  “to watch out for ‘meals-made- from-bugs’ and ‘crazy organ meats“.  When I asked her if she had ever been to Belize or eaten Belizean food, she told me she had never left the US, nor tried the cuisine.  I appreciated her cautious advice on all-things-Belizean with the knowing suspicion that her authority came from the ‘University of reality television’, the same way that I am an expert on celebrity, certified by the “school of doctor’s office tabloids.’

There is a disconnect about the food of Belize. Yes, you meet the occasional traveler who has delighted in deeply flavorful cuisine that is the backbone of this culture. However, prior to embarking on this adventure to write about the food scene of Belize, I was peppered with the comments that reflect a knowledge more of the sensational, and the “Out-there they eat eyeballs and intestines! ” belief system. Many Americans don’t know yet know about the country and subsequently, its gastronomy.

A staple plate: Barbequed chicken, rice and beans and potato salad

Belize on the eastern coast of Central America, north of Guatemala, and just south of the Mexican Yucatan. It is a  food lover’s paradise.  The flavors of cuisine can be attributed  to the conflation of cultures, and the support of a burgeoning interest in culinary tourism.  Belize has a long and storied reputation for attracting  people, starting as the native home of the Mayans, then the Spanish and English colonials. The country welcomed refugee Garinagu, a Caribbean island people who are direct descendents of shipwrecked African slaves and Arawak Indians.  Belize has also been populated by inhabitants of the commonwealths of the UK, and the Chinese.  Most recently, it has been called home by Mennonites migrating from North America, and Latinos from around Central America.

Each group has brought with it a distinct set of cooking practices. When applied to the natural resources of the land and sea, they make for an eye-opening eating experience.

 

5 thoughts on “Arrival and departure

  1. I believe that there are also mail order doctorates in the back of Rolling Stone magazine. I guess the degree in barbeques program needs an additional course or two. Great story

  2. What I like is that you poke fun at the airline agent without making her seem like a total hick. The comparison of being an expert in celebrity life was spot on- loved this first post and can’t wait to read more.

  3. Love the blog and will be following avidly. I have been a Belize lover since 1977 when I would start the day with lobster and eggs because it was cheaper than bacon. I have been returning to Ambergris Caye ever since. Be sure to check out El Fogon in San Pedro where you will find traditional foods prepared in the traditional ways. Also go on up north of the village about four miles on the golf cart track and you will find Lion’s BBQ. On many days he will grill you up some gibnut – otherwise known as the Royal Rat. Tough but tasty. Congrats on the Road Warrior gig.

    • Thank you for the feedback. El Fogon is on my list, not only for the eats but also for the kitchen. I am hoping to be able to get in with their cooks and spend a day absorbing all they will share with me. I appreciate the gibnut tip too: last time I ate it, it had some shot leftover from the hunter…my teeth have never been the same. cheers!

  4. Very informative…I had no idea of all the varying influences on Belize..can’t wait to read more. Have fun!

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