25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE   BY ANGEL NUÑEZ

Cooking Tools

THE COMAL OR HOT PLATE: The ‘Comal’ came in various sizes and shapes and were extremely useful in every household. A comal is a smooth, flat griddle typically used in Mexico and Central America, and that included San Pedro, to cook tortillas, toast spices, sear meat, and generally prepare food. The most popular use was to make flour tortillas and corn tortillas as well. They were placed under a pot in which rice was being cooked to prevent it from cooking too fast and from burning, of course. The ‘Comal’ was used to re-heat food, any kind of food, dry or moist. Onions, peppers and tomatoes were roasted over the comal.

THE EGG BEATER: They were used to mix and beat eggs, sauces and dressings; they blend foods quickly and easily with less clean-up than the electric beaters. Prior to this innovative invention folks used to beat an egg with a fork, so when this gadget came into the market it was every housewife’s desire to own one. However in San Pedro only a few lucky persons had them so when mom needed to beat some eggs for the cake, waffle, or pancakes, she went over to the neighbor to borrow her egg beater. The good neighbors were willing to lend them to friends and family with the condition that they should be returned immediately after use. Of course there was an advantage of owning an egg beater because upon its return you were bound to have some free waffles or pancakes or even a nice slice of cake.

THE WAFFLE IRON: There were only a few, perhaps five or six waffle irons in San Pedro, so they were in high demand. Of course if there was one in the family you could guarantee that all the other members of the family would come over to borrow your waffle iron. These irons were made of solid cast iron and they worked to perfection. I would dare to say that they worked better than today’s modern electric waffle irons. Whenever waffles were to be made for supper, (we called it evening tea) mom announced it so that everyone could be at the table on time and enjoy them hot and crispy. Evening tea in our old San Pedro was at five p.m. or before sunset, and there’s where our culture of early supper came from. Like the borrowing of the egg beater, the good neighbors were willing to lend their waffle irons to friends and family with the condition that they should be returned immediately after use. Of course there was an advantage of owning a waffle iron because upon its return you were bound to have some free waffles.

So there you have it, folks. Folks did find a way for gourmet cooking twenty five years ago in San Pedro.


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