Cooking Classes in El Paredón

The Early Days

Former Director Julia Harriman relates her first experiences in El Paredón before the formation of La Choza Chula

A crucial aspect to being a true Guatemalan is that we need to learn how to make a good tortilla. Every meal here comes with tortillas – soup, fried chicken,even pasta. When you walk round the village, you can hear the sound of women slapping the maize dough between their hands to make the perfect discs before sliding them onto hot metal over their open fires.

We wanted to learn. So we asked our friends Gracie and Lindsey and they said their mum could show us. This is Lindsey in the bedroom where everyone sleeps. Sparky, sparkly, affectionate, wide eyed – a little monkey – she has already found a place in my heart.

This is Gracie, her sister, in the kitchen. Calm, wise, smart and great to be around.

Their mum made the dough and we rolled it between our hand with just a little water. Slap slap from one to the other. And then..on the floor! Drop. Into the sand, there are no second chances. This is not easy.

In the end, la señora made most of the tortillas while we kind of gave up and played with the kids. But she gave us loads to take home – Carla carrying them Dick Whittington style back to our house where we ate them with guacamole.