My greatest food challenge EVER
category: Jims Guatemala

As you may remember, we have to eat some pretty outrageous things here in order to satisfy the complex cultural requirements of living Mayan-style: boiled cow stomache, dragonfly soup (a crunch in every bite!), chicken feet, things like that. I am a picky eater, so this is great torture for me. I have refined the “take a bite, a big swig of coffee, and swallot it whole” technique I used as a child to cope with brussel sprouts. But today I faced my greatest challenge ever.

Usted no come jolom kalnel?” Lina asked me, as I was sitting next to their cooking fire, waiting for my turn in the chuj.

Oh dear. She just asked me if I eat sheep’s head. I looked in the cauldron she was holding, and I saw a difficult-to-identify lump of singed and boiled meat. I saw some teeth sticking out at odd angles, an eye socket, part of an ear. Lord help me.

I must have had quite a look on my face, because she cackled and slapped her knee. “Tal vez puede morir!” (You might die!) she said. What luck! Our host family knows that I have a “weak stomache” (as they call it) and already figured I’d not be interested. Now that we’re buddies, they are the one exception to the eating rule and we can occasionally decline things without coming off as bad people.

I really dodged a bullet with that one.

Posted by: jfanjoy