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Food in Honduras

By Don Moore

This item was written in response to a high school student doing research on Honduras.

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Hi there! I'm glad my articles were useful to you.

I have a Honduran school book here with the words to the national anthem. I can scan the words and then mail you them tomorrow night when I log on. (I can't run the scanner when I'm logged on to the Internet. It takes too much of the computer memory.) Of course, the words are all in Spanish. There are seven verses and a chorus. I can translate the chorus for you - it's the most important part, anyway.

Food is a more difficult subject. For the most part, Honduran cooking is very plain and simple. What isn't plain and simple calls for ingredients you can't get up here or methods that are impossible to do here. I do have an idea, though. Here's a quick explanation of Honduran food, though.

The typical Honduran breakfast consists of beans, tortillas, and eggs. The typical Honduran lunch consists of rice, tortillas, some meat, and soup. A typical supper would be beans, rice, tortillas, some meat and/or an egg, and a cabbage salad.

That describes how most people eat every meal all year around. They don't have the variety that we are used to. Poor people are a lot less likely to have meat and eggs - maybe once a week or less. In a poor family, two scrambled eggs might be divided between the whole family (6 or 7 people). Rich people, of course, will eat good all the time. For the most part, people (even the rich) eat smaller portions of meat that we typically do in the USA.

As to how people cook ... Eggs are usually either scrambled or fried - hard-boiled eggs are unusual. Rice is fried first and then boiled (usually with a little chopped onion or grated carrot for color and flavor). Frying the rice makes it a bit greasy ... but for most people that is good because grease is a good source of cheap food energy and they do a lot more hard physical work than we do. In fact, all food is a lot greasier because people eat more grease since it is cheap energy.

In Honduras, most people eat a type of red bean that looks like a kidney bean, except only about half the size. (In Guatemala, the custom is to eat black beans - interesting how different customs exist.) Beans are either just cooked and eaten whole or the are mashed and refried. Usually onions and garlic and grease are added for flavor.

Meat is usually fried with chopped onions and/or tomatoes. They commonly eat beef, pork, and chicken. Cabbage salad is just grated cabbage with some lemon juice mixed in.

Honduran tortillas are made out of white (not yellow) corn and don't look at all like the Mexican style tortillas sold in the USA. Honduran tortillas are thicker and have a less-sweet taste. They are also better because they are hand-made fresh everyday (and not made by machine and sold in the store two weeks later).

The one thing that might be easy to make and still kind of special is a Honduran style soup, such as people serve at lunch. What makes it special is something called cilantro (or sometimes culantro). This is a fresh green herb that sort of looks like parsley. You may be able to find it in the produce section of a supermarket. It is very common in Mexican and Middle Eastern cooking. If you live in a small town where there aren't many immigrants, it may be tough to find. But if you live in a good size city, it shouldn't be too hard. I live in Davenport, Iowa, and all my local supermarkets sell it.

Making a real Honduran soup is simple. First get some chicken pieces. These can be legs, thighs, necks, etc - in Honduras they even put in the feet (although nobody eats those - they just add flavor!). Now chop up some onions, carrots, potatoes, zuchinni, and celery. Cut them in big chunks - that's the way Hondurans do. Now put everything in a pot with a lot of water and add salt and pepper. You can also add some chicken bouillon or worchestshire sauce (Hondurans do) if you want. Cook this for about 90 minutes or so until the chicken is falling off the bone.

What makes the soup truly Honduran is the cilantro. Chop it up and add it to the soup about 3 or 4 minutes before you serve it. It shouldn't be cooked - just warmed up a little. (Sometimes people put the fresh cilantro in the soup bowl and just put the soup overtop of it.) To anybody who has lived in Honduras, the smell and taste of cilantro is all it takes to revisit Honduras!

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This website is maintained by Don Moore,
Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995
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