25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE BY ANGEL NUÑEZ
I am sure that in today's diet we in San Pedro are eating more rice than corn. Think of the many dishes where rice is part of the main course. Not so 25 years ago. Corn was certainly the main part of most meals and that certainly was due to our Mexican roots. Let us see how much corn was used 25 years ago.
Corn was boiled and ground to make the delicious tortillas. Tortillas went with beans and fish, beans and chicken, and with all the soup dishes like escabeche, mechado, chirmole, mole and relleno. The poorer families ate corn tortillas in simpler forms. They ate the enchiladas, which were simply tortillas with some tomato and onion rolled in them. This was eaten when there was no meat or fish to go with it. If there was cheese, you spread some over the enchiladas, but that was not a must. Still the even poorer families ate corn tortillas in a menu called "cutz" What was "cutz"? It was a hot corn tortilla with pork lard in it and some salt. That was all and I want to assure you that when you got home after a hot day in the sea or sun a "cutz" tasted so delicious.
Corn was also roasted for two purposes. It was roasted pretty dark and grounded and used to make a drink sort of like coffee but with a corn taste. Yes, there was a time in San Pedro when there was no imported coffee and all we had for breakfast or supper was tea. Therefore the roasted corn was also a delicacy. We also roasted corn and grounded it very finely. Sugar was added to this and we ate it like a candy. It was a powdered candy, which was consumed by licking. This candy that I am talking about was referred to as "casham". I believe both words "casham and cutz" are Mayan words, whatever they mean.
Corn was also bought by many villagers by the 100-pound sacks and used to feed the hogs, chickens, and pigeons. Corn was the most inexpensive commodity to feed these animals.