Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vacation Food!

Jessica over at Life as Mom and Good (Cheap) Eats is one of my favorite bloggers, and she was talking yesterday at Food Your Way about how to eat well on vacation. With lots of kids and a budget to boot, she's a pro at creative ways to feed them all well. She's got some great suggestions, but not all of them fit our situation since our destination is in Latin America. But I think I can adapt hers to our situation pretty easily, even though we are leavin' on a jet plane and not staying local.

Stock Images - Flight 2
© Photographer: Bx3t | Agency:

Here's my Guatemala version of her five tips:

1) Vending Machine Allowance --> Not-Just-Water Allowance
Not long ago, I told P-Daddy that water is going to be our biggest expense. I was only half kidding! P-Daddy drinks a. lot. of. water. And by that, I mean A LOT! Here at home, we've got several Brita pitchers and we use them all the time, so it's not a problem, but in a country where you have to pay for every drop of water that you drink, this can add up! Luckily, water is fairly inexpensive, but I'm imagining we'll be dropping by the corner tienda for water pretty regularly (and really, it's totally worth it to avoid the revenge on a pretty brief trip!). At the tiendas, we are sure to see lots of interesting things to try, but buying little items here and there all the time can really add up, in both dollars and pounds, if you know what I mean. So giving ourselves an allowance for buying things at our water stops is a great idea to keep our budget (and our belts) in check.

2) Try-Something-New Day --> Try-Something-Typical Day
I love the food in Guatemala, but for many people it's just not all that. A simple meal of black beans and tortillas is right up my alley, but there are also lots of other traditional meals that are popular and delicious. Paches, jocón verde, pepián, caldo de gallina, hilachas, rellenitos...I could go on and on. While I've tried all these before, for P-Daddy they'll be new and different. I think we'll be having this day multiple times!

3) Fun convenience foods --> Fun convenient fruit
There's a fruit vendor to be found on the streets of most towns in Guatemala. He usually has a wheeled cart piled high with fresh fruit, and once he finds a prime location to estacionarse, he starts cutting it up and loading it into little plastic bags, into which he also sprinkles some chili powder and adds half a lime to squeeze on it. On a hot day (or any other day), there is no better snack than this fruit! Mango and green mango are my favorites, but cucumber is also yummy and refreshing, as is...well, again, I could go on and on. And yes, I know that it's technically street food, but I don't accept that! P-Daddy might not be so enthused, but if that's the case, we can head right on over to the market, where we'll have to cut it up ourselves, but the variety is greater and the price even lower!

4) Old Favorites --> Old Favorites
I definitely have my favorite restaurants in both Pana and Xela, and we'll be trying out a few of them while we are there. Probably starting with Giuseppe's pizza, which has the BEST albondigas pizza I have ever eaten in my life. I'm not normally a huge pizza fan, but my Guatemalan family lives right around the corner, and I'm grabbing the opportunity while I can!

5) Freezer meals from home --> Tienda Tacos
Taking freezer meals would be pretty impossible since we'll be on a plane or in airports for almost 9 hours before we arrive. Plus, we then have a 4-5 hour bus ride to get to Xela. Any freezer food we brought would be pretty stinky and inedible by the time we arrived. But eating cheap in Guatemala is pretty easy. When I lived there, one of my favorite cheap meals was a bag of tortillas, a bag of black means (not dried ones, but already cooked ones that you squeeze out of the bag) and a bag of salsa (are you seeing a bag theme here?). With just a microwave (or even without one!) you have a cheap and filling meal for very little out-of-pocket. Don't get me wrong, we are not planning to survive on beans and tortillas, but sometimes a quick and easy meal is just what we want! And our stomachs will thank us for not resorting to the street tacos...

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