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Nov 12, 2006 03:09 PM

Authentic Guatemalan Recipes

Dh and I are adopting from Guatemala and in order to ease my son's transition I want to perfect some Guatemalan recipes before he comes home. Anyone have any authentic recipes they can share?


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  1. I'd highly recommend "False Tongues and Sunday Bread: A Guatemalan and Mayan Cookbook" by Copeland Marks (1985). I've made a few good recipes from this book - I especially love the Queso Napolitano (which is, actually, a big flan). Has some nice travelogue in it, too, if it's the book I remember.

    1. Yes, False Tongues is a wonderful book. Unfortunately, the '85 edition was out of print for many years and the recent reprint of the book sells for about $40.00. Ouch! Not much travelogue, really. But the author notes what city or part of Guatemala each recipe is from and has very informative introductions to most of them.

      This book was given to me years ago by Guatemalan friends who tell me it is still the only reliable book on Guatemalan food available in English.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JoanN

        I agree with False Tongues, I had a chance to meet Copeland Marks in the late 1980's and he made us some wonderful little appetizers. One of my co-workers was his neighbor in Brooklyn Heights at the time. I have a signed copy of the originial edition. I wonder if it is worth anything? But I won't is a favorite cookbook in my collection.

        Also to add to the suggestions of others on foods that will make your new little one feel at home - I assume that he is used to eating a lot of freshly made corn tortillas. If you don't have a local place that makes them fresh, you might want to learn to make them at home. They are so much better than the packaged store bought ones.


      2. I recall a simple cut fruit salad that had a topping of crumbled chicharrones from guatamala - it was from a gourmet article I think. The contrast of the sweet ripe fruit, and crunchy salty rinds seems like a winner.

        I love guatamalan tamales -- never made them but if you can find a guatamalan bakery in your area or are feeling ambitious.

        1. Congratulations! My husband is Guatemalan and we hope to adopt there sometime, too. You didn't mention how old your son is. My husband was ecstatic to find that the markets here (Boston) carry the same brand of refried beans as his family would use at home-Ducal. They are eaten at breakfast and throughout the day. (His great-aunts heat them in a skillet folding them with a wooden paddle, then let them rest between services by just setting the whole pan into the cold oven.) At breakfast in that household, they are served with cream cheese.

          In general, the cuisine is much less spicy than Mexican. The tortillas are corn, usually 4 inches in diameter, and very thick. All the Guatemalan relatives are a bit crazy for cheese, most seem to prefer a heavy hand with salt, and all but my husband (grrrrrrr) eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

          Good luck!


            Here are a few I found online, in case you can't find the Copeland book. I would send you my copy, but my ex got custody of of luck with the adoption!