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 – 2020, Laura McNamara. All rights reserved.