While Jason is taking Spanish classes, I signed up for a five day cooking course where we get to cook a different Mayan dish everyday. Today we learned how to make Pepian, a traditional Mayan chicken stew. I had met Angela, the owner and Ines, my teacher, earlier last week when I signed up for the class. When I got there, they were preparing a fire in the outdoor kitchen set in a beautiful garden space. It is typical for Mayans to cook over an open fire.
Can you believe Ines is only 19 years old? She is very sweet and very patient for her age. She only speaks Spanish so Angela who is from Spain, is there to help translate what I don’t understand. I do find cooking to be a universal language just like music and most things you can understand by pointing and through demonstration. I appreciated the fact that the class was taught in Spanish so I could familiarize myself with the language.
The three of us started by going over the ingredients of tomatoes, potatoes, tomatillos, 2 kinds of dried chile, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and a type of squash they call guisquil pronounced wee-skill. They had already butchered the chicken and had it boiling over the fire. Thank god! We peeled and chopped the potatoes and guisquil and added it to the pot. Next we charred the chiles, tomatillos and tomatoes on a skillet over the open fire.