Please Belize me when I tell you…

April 15, 2015

image courtesy of http://www.flags.net

 

I’m sorry.

So, I felt like getting ambitious. It was well intentioned but did not go as I had planned. I apologize Belize, you deserved better. But let’s start at the beginning…

Belize was known as British Honduras until 1973 based on a series of claims involving the Spanish and the British dating back a few hundred years. The country was kind of like a child in a divorced home, not really knowing…or caring sometimes… which parent was in control. This uncertainty did eventually matter, as there would be a dispute with Guatemala, stemming from certain recognized and unrecognized British treaties. Guatemala essentially says that Belize belongs in whole or in part to them, and Belize of course differs in opinion. This has been such a major point of contention over the years, that many Belizean prime ministers proclaim it as their number one priority. To get by there is basically a neutral zone which seems to prolong any decisions on the subject.

But on to the IMPORTANT stuff… Belize is the only Central American country whose official language is English. And the most important contribution Belize has made to the whole of human civilization… GUM. Remember Chiclets? Come on, you remember… those little squares of gum which the hard shell on the outside…they were good and fun in an old-timey way? Well… the name is derived from the word “chicle” which is the natural gum harvested originally in Belize from trees similar to the way rubber and latex is collected. Ok… not the best visual I get it… “chicle” is the Nahuatl word meaning “sticky stuff”. Where would we be in this world if we didn’t have gum… I don’t want to think about it.

Speaking of sticky stuff… I decided (because I’m smart) to try tackling tamales for the first time. I found a few Belizean recipes… and attempted to “wing it”. It did not go well. I got some good Masa from the local Mexican Grocery (finding out later it was at the supermarket as well, though no employee could locate it). Once combined with water/oil it is very difficult to handle, I had a hard time and the end result was… edible but not ideal.

So I apologize Belize, I will post the picture of what I made, which amounted to a very thick and dryish tamale. I will say that the technique of cooking them wrapped in parchment paper instead of banana leaves worked very well, so that was a positive. I will come back later and re-attempt this or a similar recipe and update at that point, I just didn’t want the blog to be held up on it.

Next? Benin… and one of my favorite recipes to date…

 

   


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