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Authentic Guatemalan Recipes

chriscinfl Nov 12, 2006 03:09 PM

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?


  1. j
    jd in baltimore Nov 12, 2006 03:32 PM

    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. JoanN Nov 12, 2006 04:49 PM

      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
        Springhaze2 Jan 6, 2008 11:42 AM

        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 sell...it 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. kare_raisu Nov 12, 2006 06:22 PM

        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. b
          BarefootandPregnant Nov 12, 2006 06:49 PM

          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!

          1. prunefeet Nov 13, 2006 05:47 PM


            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 it...best of luck with the adoption!

            1. g
              GDSinPA Dec 29, 2006 05:23 PM

              Good info in this thread.
              I've noticed a number of "Latin American" or even "Central American" cookbooks recently. A lot of the Guatemalan info are really just variations on more generic recipes.

              Anyone know of any more recent books that are still in print? Or perhaps a catch all Latin American book that contains more than 1 or 2 Guatemalan dishes?

              1. s
                saberta Jan 4, 2008 05:56 PM

                Hi: I am from Guatemala and always made the black beans since I came to Houston 29 years ago!!, I use a pressure cooker, but you can use a regular pot. I leave 1 lb. of the beans a day before in water and changed water the next day. I put it in the cooker for 25 minutes with a 4 garlic cloves,a regular onion and salt to your taste.Makes a great soup!! you can add fried chopped onion in olive oil after cook, put a spoon of sour cream,romano cheese and buen apetito!!

                1. s
                  Springhaze2 Jan 30, 2008 08:41 AM

                  Hi Chris, Did you get your little guy yet? How is the transition going?

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