B e honest or truthful. What do people mostly eat today- fish or chicken right? To many people, that seems strange since living on an island and a fisherman's paradise, one would suppose that we eat more fish than anything else.
In the 1950's and earlier, the opposite was true. Our food consisted mainly of fish. I mean everyday it was fish, so that if one wanted a blessed change, he would eat some kind of canned food. So when Sunday arrived and one was tired of fish, he would open a can of corned beef and prepare a nice soup with noodles and potatoes and okra and tomatoes, etc.
Twenty five years ago, there were no supermarkets nor meat shops so there were no frozen chickens nor beef, nor pork in the freezers. Chickens were grown in the backyard, but they were reserved for their eggs and the meat for very special occasions. Cows were not raised in the backyard, so beef was totally absent from the menus and tables of the Sanpedranos. Once in a while, a few businessmen would bring beef from Belize City and the villagers went wild trying to get their two or three pounds of beef (limited sales).
As for pigs, they were also raised in the backyard by at least one half of the populace. When a pig was killed, it was a special event. The huge cooking pot (1/2 a drum) was rented, the butcher was hired (Mr. Palao), the policeman was notified (he was the health officer also), and orders for meat or chicharonn were taken in advance. The owner would sell 75 percent of the meat and keep the rest for his special celebration. The head and tail and feet and ribs etc. were salted and kept in large buckets and this supply would last for up to three months
Let me tell you that in a pig everything had some value- the meat the skin for chicharon, the feet for soup, the liver for a dish called "higadia", the kidneys and other inside organs along with a quantity of blood for another delicacy called"morcia" or blood pudding in other parts of Belize. The children cleaned and inflated the urinary bladder and used it as a volleyball, the snout was used for a soup cooked with chaya (the local spinach), and the ears, tongue, heart and skin were made into a delicious "boca", more or less like the chicken ceviche that you enjoy today. Even the hair of the pig was saved and these bristles were tied tgether to make a fine paint brush.
When the skin and fat was fried to make chicharon, pork oil or fat was produced. It was called "manteca" or lard in English. Even this was valued and treasured. A 300 pound hog would yield three buckets of lard, or about 100 pounds. After a few special friends got their five pound gift, the rest was saved for one's own cooking needs. This supply would last up to five months for a family. The very bottom of the lard bucket had the crispy chicharon particles and this was a favorite for Sanpedranos.
YOU simply heated a corn tortilla, added some lard with the salty particles called "el shish", rolled it up and there you had a taco - not La Margarita style, but a delicious taco. The people used to call it "Kutz". And you wonder why children were fat and healthy. Try a kutz today. Try it with plain butter if there is no lard.
As you can appreciate, even with the scarcity of meats, when you killed a hog you had a supply of odds and ends that lasted quite a while. You raised a hog for eight months and you ate it for about four months. So when one was tired of fish, there was the corned beef and your buckets of salted pork parts. No wonder we still love pig tail. And some people would never eat pig tail, but they ate iguanas and frog legs and snakes. This is a divided world as far as eating habits go, right?
So what do we eat more today, fish or chicken? Chicken is two dollars a pound. Fish is five dollars. Big difference, eh? Today, when you get tired of chicken, you bake a nice fish fillet on Sunday and you eat like a king. Twenty five years ago you got tired of fish. Today you get tired of chicken.