Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Ancient Foods – Pacaya #516221
07/26/16 05:37 AM
07/26/16 05:37 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Many times when we think about the ancient foods of the Maya, the first thing that comes to mind is corn, and rightfully so, corn was a major part of the ancient Maya diet, but they did not live on that alone. In fact, their diet was very wide and included a vast variety of plants and animals found in the surrounding forests. This brings us to the following question: Did the Maya clear forests completely? That may be true in the corn fields, but what about closer to their homes? If we visit a house of a present day Maya, we will find a variety of fruit trees, plants used in cooking such as spices or even those used for medicine. I believe that the ancient Maya were no different than what we are today and would have kept some plants around their huts or nearby.

The pacaya is a very beautiful plant and comes from the Chamaedorea family. There are several types of these plants. Some are used for decorative reasons. It lives in the moist humus understory of the Belizean rainforests, often on limestone soils. The pacaya plant produces a flower, at times referred to as a vegetable, most commonly known as chib, and resembles the ear of a corn. As the inflorescence, develops the brightly colored bracts are then exposed, revealing small buds that slowly develop into berries. It is the immature inflorescence that is prepared for consumption. It is traditionally a delicacy, as it is prepared during the Holy Week or Easter and is used as a substitute of meat since meat products are not consumed during this time. During All Saints Day and All Souls Day in Guatemala, it is used in a salad called “fiambre”. There are several variations, but all seem to be a mixed salad with many ingredients.

The following is one way of preparing pacaya. This method varies from one region to the other. The pacaya is edible raw, as it is picked from the plant, but mostly it goes through a process of cooking. Firstly, the ends of the immature pacaya are cut and boiled for 20 minutes. It is recommended to change the water twice because the pacaya can be a bit bitter. To make a meal for 3 to 5 persons, 15 to 20 pacayas will be needed. The outer section is stripped and discarded, and the inside of what would be the undeveloped flower is what will be consumed. It is then diced and placed in a pan where it is sautéed with a diced tomato and half of an onion, for about 3 mins. Four to five eggs are then added. This is then mixed until all the eggs are cooked. It is served with handmade or mill corn tortillas.

The pacaya can be paired with something else on the side, but not meat is served. On this particular day, I had it with deep fried plantains. This is one way it would be prepared during the lenten time. It seems to be used as a substitute for meat which is not uncommon as other wild plants and mushrooms are used in that manner. Although it is still uncertain if the ancient Maya would have eaten it or prepared it in the same way as people do today, communities all over Central America, including the Maya people consume the chib today. However, it is not limited to Maya groups, as it is consumed by many.

Cayo Tour Guide Association

Re: Ancient Foods – Pacaya [Re: Marty] #516225
07/26/16 06:09 AM
07/26/16 06:09 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
Belize City
Katie Valk Offline

Katie Valk  Offline
Pacaya available in the markets, quite good with eggs

Belize based travel specialist
[email protected]

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
Maruba Beach Klub and Spa is the premiere Secret Beach spa and restaurant located on the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea at the center of Secret Beach, Belize
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler

Things to do
Specials & Events
SPTB Calendar of Events

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
To Get Your Questions Answered

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
Cayo Event Calendar

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Belize Happy Adventures
Conch Creative
Caribbean Culture & Lifestyle
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We handle all aspects of the purchase of your Real Estate in Belize. From in depth property searches to your final closing.
Click for Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, Welcome to a World of Adventure
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
ShoutChat Box
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 73 guests, and 0 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Most Online7,413
Nov 7th, 2021 HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.1