Yucatan Peninsula

Region

David Sterling’s sautéed chaya with smoked bacon: Chayas fritas / Tsajbil chaay

Chronicler Diego de Landa mentioned chaya in 1566, when he observed that the leaves were especially delicious when cooked with plenty of bacon. What isn’t? Chayas fritas is an excellent side dish; it also stars in the scrambled egg dish Huevos revueltos con chaya. Chaya continues in popularity to the present, with exuberant chefs pushing the envelope of its many possibilities: […]

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Sopa de lima

Esta sopa es una especialidad del estado de Yucatán. A pesar de que se desarrolló en un clima cálido, es una buena comida para el invierno. La variedad de limón llamada Citrus limetta crece en abundancia en Yucatán, aunque otras variedades de limón pueden ser utilizadas al preparar esta sopa. Ingredientes Para el caldo: 1 pollo entero, […]

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Scrambled eggs with sautéed chaya: Huevos revueltos con chaya / Chay-he

This is another Yucatecan favorite that makes use of leftovers from the day before. Chayas fritas from the afternoon meal are repurposed for breakfast the next day in this quick yet nourishing dish. Scramble the quantity of eggs desired, adding chayas fritas just as the eggs are beginning to set. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper […]

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Yucatan style plantain soup: Sopa de platano yucateca

This delicious soup from the Yucatan uses half-ripe plantains, meaning green and yellow, not black and yellow. Use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian, if desired, and add more broth for a thinner Yucatan style plantain soup. Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small red onion, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, […]

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Mexican yucca in orange sauce: Yuca en naranja

Yucca has always been a staple in the cooking of the Caribbean and the Yucatan peninsula. Fairly bland on its own, it takes well to the flavor of other ingredients. In Mexican yucca in orange sauce, it blends with garlic and oranges. Ingredients 6 medium size yuccas 2 tablespoons corn oil 4 cloves garlic, peeled […]

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Baked Marinated Pork: Cochinita Pibil

This is the quintessential Yucatecan dish, from a region that is quite possibly the “capital” of leaf-wrapped foods. The color and flavor of the marinade are characterized by achiote, or annatto seed. This succulent baked pork is worth trying even without banana leaves, though the taste will not be exactly the same. Simply omit the […]

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Yucatecan Style Chicken: Pollo Ticul

This tip was taught to me by a restaurant owner on a trip to the Mayan ruins of Uxmal, near where the town of Ticul is located. She explained that the inner, smooth side of the banana leaf always faces the filling, with the ridged side on the outside. The leaves may be omitted if […]

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Mexican turkey in piquant herb and spice broth: Pavo en escabeche

Two years ago, along the road from Palenque to the Campeche, passing the small campechano town of Esmarga, we stopped at a roadside palapa restaurant – one of the small, thatched-roof eateries common in tropical parts of Mexico – where I tasted my first escabeche. The word escabeche is defined in most Spanish-English dictionaries as “pickled”, a meaning that does not apply in […]

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Ice cream carts have been a feature of Yucatecan life for at least a century. Photo by Eduardo Cervantes. An ice cream vendor in a Merida park

Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition

The Canadian author and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro said that “The constant happiness is curiosity.” If this is the case, then chef and cookbook writer David Sterling must have taken great joy in putting this book together, for it reflects tireless research that was surely driven by an intense desire to learn as much […]

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Yucatecan three-meat stew: Puchero yucateco de tres carnes

Although the Yucatan is hardly associated with cool weather, this stew, which contains chicken along with the meat, is one of its most popular dishes. Sundays in Merida call to mind music in all the plazas, and puchero specials in the restaurants. The stew is served with a salpicon, something like a relish, which is the typical accompaniment toYucatecan main dishes. […]

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Mexican Yucatan-style lentil stew: Potage de lentejas estilo yucateca

This hearty stew gets its flavor from pork and a medley of vegetables. The best choice for the pork stew meat is shoulder. In Mexico, ask the butcher for espaldilla. Substitute güero chile for the xcatic chile, which is difficult to find outside the Yucatan. I’ve omitted the ham and chorizo that are usually included here, since I think the dish […]

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Ice cream carts have been a feature of Yucatecan life for at least a century. Photo by Eduardo Cervantes. An ice cream vendor in a Merida park

David Sterling’s Mexican coconut sorbet: sorbete de coco

The base for this coconut sorbet is fresh coconut milk — not to be confused with the water found inside coconuts (although that should be reserved to use in the recipe). You may substitute the fresh whole coconuts in the recipe with canned, unsweetened coconut milk and grated coconut — but you can’t beat the […]

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© John McClelland, 2007

Henequen and its role in the Yucatan’s shifting fortunes

There is a beautiful, tree-lined boulevard in Merida, Yucatan called Paseo de Montejo. It provides four lanes for traffic separated by a wide median planted with shrubs and flowers. The sidewalks are wide enough for two further lanes of traffic each way and are interspersed with statuary, benches, conversation chairs and trees. Notwithstanding its charm, […]

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Yucatecan lime soup: Sopa de lima

This specialty of the Yucatan, although it comes from a warm climate, is great winter comfort food. The variety of lime called Citrus Limetta grows in abundance in the Yucatan, although other varieties of limes can be used in making this soup. In Mexico, this lime is called limón, or lemon, but the small, tangy fruit resembles the tart […]

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Yucatecan achiote paste: Pasta de achiote

Also known as recado colorado in the Yucatan, where it originated, this Yucatecan achiote paste is a marinating paste that can be used on chicken, pork or fish. Although the base for achiote paste is sold under several brand names, ready to be mixed with orange juice, this homemade version has a much fresher, livlier taste and […]

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Yucatan Style pickled onions: Cebollas encurtidas estilo yucateca

Both white and purple pickled onions are served as condiments in the Yucatan. The purple variety is generally served with cochinita pibil, and both Yucatan style pickled onions make great additions to sandwiches. Blanching them for a few seconds first takes some of the sharpness out of the onions, making them good for people who like raw […]

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Mexican turkey in a dark spice sauce: Chilmole from the Yucatan

A traditional and delicious Mexican dish, chilmole — sometimes called relleno negro — is made from one of the classic recados, or seasoning combinations. This dish, said to have originated in Campeche, is eaten all over the Yucatan peninsula, especially around Christmas and the New Year, when there is an abundance of leftover holiday turkey. It is a nice change from […]

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Yucatecan style quail: Codorniz a la yucateca

Yucatecan style quail, typical of the Mexican state of Yucatan, uses a recado, one of the spice pastes that distinguish the region’s cuisine. This recipe can also be used with chicken or turkey, increasing proportions according to the weight of the bird. Ingredients For the recado: 3 peppercorns 1 teaspoon allspice berries 2 whole cloves ½ teaspoon coriander […]

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Xtabentum: A Novel of Yucatan

Xtabentum: A Novel of Yucatan By Rosy Hugener with Carl Hugener Create Space, 2011 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback This is a beautiful story, well conceived and well crafted and satisfying. Xtabentum: A Novel of Yucatan begins in 1906, in those tense years just preceding the Mexican Revolution. A woman in Merida is giving birth to a […]

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Wildlife of the Yucatan Peninsula: The Explorer Family’s Guide and Journal

Wildlife of the Yucatan Peninsula: The Explorer Family’s Guide and Journal By David Nuñez and Adriana Zepeda Mawacos, 2011 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback This little book is just the right size to tuck into your glove compartment or even into a large shirt pocket. Wildlife of the Yucatan Peninsula: The Explorer Family’s Guide and Journal is a collection, […]

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Bringing our sailboat to the Maya Riviera

Bijou’s odyssey: Bringing our sailboat to the Maya Riviera

This is a story of how my wife, Teresa, and I realized our dream of owning a sailboat here on the Caribbean side of Mexico. Being former coastal Californians with 10 years of sailing experience under our lifejackets and now living on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula, we wanted a sailboat at our […]

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The Beach

Puerto Morelos, A Yucatan paradise

Located just 20 minutes south of Cancun on the Riviera Maya, Puerto Morelos is a haven of peace and solitude. It is possibly the last vestige of an authentic, small fishing village on the entire Caribbean coastline of Mexico. People come here to avoid the high prices of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. My wife, […]

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The Maya Civilization: Historical Conflict with the Spaniards

The Maya Civilization Historical Conflict Part 2   (To Part 1) “Just because of the crazy times, because of the crazy priests, is it that sadness overtook us, that ‘Christianity’ overcame us. Because the ‘very Christians’ came here with the true God, but that was the beginning of our misery, the beginning of the tribute… […]

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La Civilización Maya Conflicto Histórico Parte 1

No hay verdad en las palabras de los extranjeros. Chilam Balam de Chumayel Las noticias nos llegan todos los días. Denuncias de movimientos del ejército mexicano en Chiapas; pronunciamientos y declaraciones de diferentes grupos y líderes; comisiones de paz que nacen y mueren como las flores del campo. Violencia y matanzas. Injusticia y opresión. Artículos […]

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La Civilización Maya: Conflicto Histórico, Parte 2

El libro del Chilam Balam de Chumayel es el más importante de los códices o manuscritos propiamente mayas que hasta hoy se conocen. Este libro recoge tradiciones orales de la historia maya; parte de ella, la llegada de los españoles al país: “Solamente por el tiempo loco, por los locos sacerdotes, fue que entró en […]

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La Civilizacion Maya

Por enésima vez, el carro se había atorado en el camino. ¡Carajo! La cosa estaba mucho peor de lo que habíamos imaginado. Abrí la puerta y me bajé para ver cómo sacarnos del agujero en que habíamos caído. Con dificultad acarreamos, mi mujer y yo, piedras suficientes para allanar el piso. Por fin logramos salir […]

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The Maya Civilization, references

De la Garza, Mercedes, y León-Portilla, Miguel, Literatura Maya. Compilación de textos: Popol Vuh, Memorial de Sololá, Libro de Chilam Balam de Chumayel, Rabinal Achí, Libro de los Cantares de Dzibalché, Título de los Señores de Totonicapán, Las historias de los Xpantzay, Códice de Calkiní. Biblioteca Ayacucho. Caracas, Venezuela, 1980. ISBN: 84-499-1303-9. Landa, Fray Diego […]

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La Civilizacion Maya , Referencias Y Sitios En La Red Mundial

REFERENCIAS ( Sitios Redes) De la Garza, Mercedes, y León-Portilla, Miguel, Literatura Maya. Compilación de textos: Popol Vuh, Memorial de Sololá, Libro de Chilam Balam de Chumayel, Rabinal Achí, Libro de los Cantares de Dzibalché, Título de los Señores de Totonicapán, Las historias de los Xpantzay, Códice de Calkiní. Biblioteca Ayacucho. Caracas, Venezuela, 1980. ISBN: 84-499-1303-9. […]

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Labná

A day at Labna: An ancient Maya city in Yucatan

For the thousandth time, the automobile was stuck in the road. Damn! Things were much worse than we’d imagined. I opened the car door and stepped down to see how to get us out from the hole in which we had fallen. Not without difficulty, my wife and I managed to find enough rocks to […]

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Cronograma de la Civilización Maya

Basado en Mystery of the Maya PERSPECTIVA A.C. 1200-1000 Olmecas 1800-900 Maya Preclásico Antiguo 900-300 Maya Preclásico Medio 300 A.C. – D.C. 250 Maya Preclásico Tardío A.D. 250-600 Maya Clásico Antiguo 600-900 Maya Clásico Tardío 900-1500 Maya Postclásico 1521-1821 Período colonial 1821- hoy El México independiente CRONOGRAMA A.C. 11,000 Los primeros cazadores-recolectores se establecen en […]

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Did You Know? – Henequen – Sisal

One of the greatest gifts the Indigenous peoples of Mexico shared with the world was their discovery and cultivation of natural fibers. One of these, henequén, continues to be used throughout the world for manufacturing and industry. Found originally in the eastern part of the Yucatán peninsula, henequén was used by the Maya and Inca for ropes, cables, nets, […]

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Mexico’s Pyramid Power – Chichen Itza, El Tajin and Teotihuacan

Consider El Tajin’s famous pyramid of the Niches, built by inheritors of the Olmec culture. Thousands of small stone blocks came together just so, like a Chinese block puzzle, to produce a structure that rises 20 meters in seven tiers. A staircase climbs the eastern face. Curiously, there are 365 square recesses set into the […]

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Exploring the Yucatan, A Traveler’s Anthology

Exploring the Yucatan – A Traveler’s Anthology, By Richard D. Perry. A Review Indispensable for anyone heading for the Mayan world of the Yucatan and equally interesting for those who have been there, this Traveler’s Anthology gives a comprehensive overview of the exploration of the area. Although it not really a guide-book, it offers a […]

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The spectacular ruins of the Maya city of Tulum overlook the Caribbean in Quintana Roo. © Anthony Wright, 2001

Rolfe Schell at the gates of Tulum

I collect old books. There’s no more fun for me than to forage through secondhand bookstores, digging up the weird and wonderful, ’50s crime pulp and science fiction, 19th century poetry tomes, books on travel and adventure. In some of those cities where I’ve lived or spent time – Amsterdam, London, Melbourne, Stockholm, Tel Aviv […]

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Maya girl © Luis Dumois, 1998

Campeche: on the edge of the Maya world

Located in the southwestern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula along the Gulf of Mexico, the State of Campeche was named after the ancient Maya Kingdom of Ah Kin Pech (Canpech). Campeche is bounded on the north and northeast by the State of Yucatán, on the east by the State of Quintana Roo, on the southeast […]

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Photo by David McCollam

The cuisine of the Yucatan: a gastronomical tour of the Maya heartland

The Mexican state of Yucatan, located on the peninsula of the same name, is the home of one of the most distinctive regional cuisines in the country. A long tradition of fine dining, going back to the ancient Maya and incorporating sophisticated European dishes, is very much in evidence in the cities, towns and villages […]

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Days end after a fishing trip on Isla Mujeres. Outcome, success. © Louie Frias, 2013

6 “Must Do” activities on your visit to Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres. That little gem off the coast of Cancun lying peacefully in the Caribbean Sea, beckoning you over to experience her magic. “Magic” is precisely how you will hear isleños — island residents — and visitors alike describe her. Mystical, healing, and rejuvenating are also words which have been associated with the island. Until you go, […]

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Did You Know? Mexico’s kapok trees aided the U.S. war effort

During the Mexican dry season, a peculiar and very distinctive leafless tree often attracts attention because it appears to have large balls of fluffy cotton-wool attached to the ends of its branches. These kapok or silk-cotton trees belong to the Bombax family, Bombacaceae, which includes many fascinating, handsome and much admired trees. They played a […]

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A mother and teenage son travel the Yucatan

In March 1998, when Andrew was 15 years old, we took our Mayan trip together. I decided to take him for that month, because his small school in Anchorage, Alaska, was going to the Galapagos Islands, and I chose a less structured, free-wheeling vacation for the two of us. Andrew has traveled with me since […]

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