Craving Corn: Elote

Elotes asados

One of the things I look forward to most when venturing out on a little jaunt outside of La Antigua is elote. There is a strip along the road that heads to Chimaltenango that is lined with Maya women fanning their grilled corn, waving drivers to stop for a quick roadside treat. You can find elote in La Antigua Guatemala (LAG), but the traditional munchie just seems a bit more rico when you’re in the car driving through the rural highlands surrounding LAG. And talk about an excellent alternative to fast food. I wish I could drive down the highway in the U.S. and quickly pull through a drive-through for a freshly grilled elote instead of greasy, stale french fries!

It’s also fun to think about the tradition behind the Maya and their connection to corn as you get elote caught in your teeth. According to Popol Vuh —a sacred book that is casually referred to as the Maya Bible— the first man and woman were made from corn. Thus, corn is a huge part of the Maya culture and diet. Unfortunately, corn has predominated the diet of the poorer populations so much that they lack vital variance in nutrients due to their reliance on the staple crop.

text and photos by Laura McNamara

Cooking Elotes asados Mayan woman

© 2009 – 2013, Laura McNamara. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Oh my goodness, I love elotes asados. I used to ask my grandma to make them for me whenever she bought elotes. That picture is awesome.

    • Thanks Adan! I think they are a Guatemalan “grandmother specialty.” 😉

  • Great pic, it looks like you can actualy grab the corn. And you are right, i wish they could sell things like that here.

  • @Laura, qué rico. Ya se me antojaron unos elotes asados con limón y sal. ¿invitas?

  • Agregales el Chile porfa, pero que esté tierno !

  • Anita

    Hello everyone.I just discoved this website and I love it!love the pictures,the stories,the information,recipes, all of it is great and I want to really make it a pointo to tell the person who writes all these blogs what a great job he does/she does!Thanks for doing this because it always puts a smile on my face and God willing,I want to go to Guatemala and experience all these amazing things this place has to offer:)

    • Anita… we would love to have you!! The website is the creative genius of Rudy Giron. However, there are a handful of us that contribute from time to time:

      * Arturo Godoy
      * Guy Howard
      * Laura McNamara
      * Michele Woodey
      * Manolo Romero Escobar

  • Corn is the ultimate mesoamerican food. However, I have found that it is a very important part of the culture (in any possible sense) of the prairies (th e region in Canada above the US midwest) and that it serves as a pretext to gather people in Quebec (French Canada) through a “corn roast” or épluchette de blé d’inde which loose translates as the “feathering of wheat from India”… oh the history that can come from a little tradition.

    • Cool tidbit Manolo… never knew that… Interested in learning more!

  • Eric

    @Laura, as someone who remembers places by the great munchies I’ve eaten there, these photos bring back a lot of related memories. The tortillas from the little shop in Santiago Atitlan (which now, unfortunately, sells sneakers), the doblados from the lady in front of La Merced…..Mmmmm. Should I be there when elote is in season, I will definitely stop and get some. Your photos are great.
    A big “Hola”, con abrazos, to all my adopted abuelitas with roadside stands who make sure I never go hungry when I visit. -sigh-.
    @Manolo – excellent observation. I am fascinated by cultural similarities, or maybe I should say, the expansion of ideas from what is called ‘Mesoamerica’. Ever notice- I think it is in the ‘mississipian’ culture – how the city centers are laid out on elevated platforms with talud/tablero pyramids, plazas with structures resembling a ball court – seems a bit familiar to me … where have I seen something like that before ? Ja-ja-ja

    • When you come back Eric… lets hit the road for some street food! 😉

  • That looks so delicious! Well photographed. The face of the seller is wonderful, too.

  • Erick

    I grew up eating “elotes locos”, at least that’s how I was told they were called. My mom would put some mayo and ketchup on the elote and top it off with some queso duro. That was good stuff!

    • Whoa… ketchup, mayo and queso duro?? Haven’t tried that yet… maybe its time I should!

    • @Edgar, thanks for alerting us about the Medium Format Camera site. 😉

  • eli

    quiero un mi elote LOCOOOO!!!!!