Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for.... Guatemalan Markets and Memories

I made my first, and so far only, trip to Guatemala for my cousin's wedding.  Vanilla Bean had the opportunity to live there for a month or so to study the language.  For both of us, it was our first experience with this type of open markets where you go to buy food.  We had experienced farmer's markets and had a neighbor truck farmer who had a local produce stand that we frequented, as well as fond memories of visits to Green Dragon with our grandfather, but this was a new experience.  I had been to a craft market and a tourist market on my trip to Africa, but these were local markets where people went to buy their food and I found it very impressive.  I didn't have much need for purchasing food on this trip, as I was staying at my aunt and uncle's, and they had food prepared, as well as a garden of their own.  I will tell you, I have wonderful memories of going to the markets for food while I was in Cambodia with friends and watching them quickly cut pineapples, carrots, and other items for people who wanted to use them that day, but while in Guatemala I enjoyed just looking and experiencing it - Vanilla Bean may have different memories.  

A few pictures of the market of Vanilla Bean's.

A couple of my own.

Bringing the produce to market.

A look at a fertile area where produce is harvested.

The fields in the valley below.

A hill side crop.

Harvested, loaded, and ready to head for a market somewhere.

How do you cook for a crowd in Guatemala?  Here is a look at preparations by some of the local ladies from my cousin's church.  We did help, but they wouldn't let us cut the little tiny peppers - were afraid we wouldn't handle them properly and touch our eyes without thinking, although I do think they let my mother help with those for a little bit.

Preparing the meat - they let this sit out overnight - not something we would do
here in the States, but my aunt assured us  it was fine....and no one got sick.

That will make a lot of tamales.

And now for my own Guatemalan feast I enjoyed this evening with friends, a reminder of my time in Guatemala.  The menu is a repeat of a meal we enjoyed while visiting some friend's in Guatemala - guacamole, refried black beans, rice with tomato, carrots, and onions, tortillas (unfortunately, mine were store bought, if Vanilla Bean had been closer, I would have borrowed her tortilla press), and grilled steak (although mine was broiled, since it was cold and rainy today and the evening finished with some sleet followed by snow).

Marinated thin cuts of beef with cilantro, mint leaves, onions, pepper, garlic,
and oil for 30 minutes.

Ready for grilling or, in my case, broiling.

My Guatemalan memories wrapped up in this humble meal.


  1. J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge - where I am part of Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
    How has the first week of the challenge been for you so far? Are you meeting your goals of posting and hopping to other blogs?
    My blog has a giveaway with bonus a to z challenges to encourage people to visit more stops.
    Amazing images! Thanks for sharing these. Now I'm hungry.

    1. Enjoying it immensely and yes have been hoping around to other blogs and enjoying those too. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Oh wow, those are awesome pictures :) I love going to markets, even if I am not buying anything, purely for the smells and the colors. And the cooking pictures remind me of home... :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

    1. Glad I could remind you of home. From your blog, I believe you are from Hungry, have you ever had a bacon fry (I think that is what they are called)? We had a Hungarian college student stay with us for a while when we were growing up and he made roasting sticks and built a fire pit in our back yard, so we could roast bacon, my mother couldn't quite believe when he said to catch the dripping bacon fat on bread. I sometimes wish he was close enough to come and have another one, because I think I would appreciate it more now that I am older...not that I didn't appreciate it them, it just seems a distant memory and I don't think I realized it was quite as cultural of a thing as it is (or a least I think it is from something I heard.)