Guatemalan Cuisine: Mayan Pizza or Giant Pupusa
Pupusas is a name inherited from El Salvador to a dish which can be found in the Southeast Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and quite possibly all the countries in Central America under various names. Pupusas are “normally” about the size of CD and are made from a mixture of maize dough, cheese, and whatever ingredient you ask for from a menu. The pupusa here is about three or four times the “normal” size and thus the name: Mayan pizza. It is way over a pound and it has four ingredients and costs about Q20 ($2.50). This is Guatemalan “fast” food, if you know what I mean.
Why maize and not corn? Funny you asked, I was going to tell about a great book with a very short name: 1491. In this book, the author makes a clear distinction between one word and the other. Maize can only mean one thing, while corn is often used as crop in other parts of the world.
Maize is grown in what is called a milpa. The term means “maize field,” but refers to something considerably more complex. A milpa a field, usually but not always recently cleared, in which farmers plant a dozen crops at once, including maize, avocados, multiples varieties of squash and bean, melon, tomatoes, chilies, sweet potato, jicama (a tuber), amaranth (a grain-like plant) and mucuma (a tropical legume)… Milpa crops are nutritionally and environmentally complementary… Milpa is one of the most successful human inventions ever created. [ed. Just a fragment on the chapter about maize).
This book is so good and so bad at the same time. It is a book rich with the latest scientific and historic facts; and that makes it so good. This book has so many truths in it that will shatter everything you think knew about America (the continent); it is almost like regaining conscience. I do not recommend this book if you are very comfortable with what you know now, even though most of is myth. Okay, you are forewarned.