“When you tell people you’re getting ready to go on a trip, you inevitably hear someone (or many someones!) say, “Oh, make sure you bring something back for me!” People love to have reminders of their time in a place away from home, and it can be fun to bring a piece of that back for friends and family who can’t come with us. Whether you love or hate souvenir shopping, you can’t help but bring things back from your trip, both tangible and intangible items. In this blog series by Praying Pelican Missions staff, you’ll get a glimpse into the things they bring home from their adventures, both lighthearted and deep.”
Over the six years that I have had the privilege to return to the country of Belize, I have brought back many different kinds of souvenirs. I’ve brought back the usual assortment of T-shirts and purses, Postcards and Photo Albums, Hot Sauce, Coffee Mugs, Coconut Jewelry, Spices, and Yes, even a Machete and Knives (How I got that back is a different story entirely!) The one thing, however, that I love the most and still continue to use on a regular basis are cooking skills.
Everyone knows that the first thing you do no matter where you go is you get in “good with the cooks.” You go up. introduce yourself, and see what they are up to. The thing I love about the cooks that we have for our mission trips is they never simply TELL you what they are making. They SHOW you. They don’t just want you to know what you are going to eat but they want to impart their wisdom to you. They want to you how to make. Talk about a tangible example of that age old Proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Cooking is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I love cooking solo and I love cooking surround by friends and family. In my experience some of the best relationships formed are those that revolve around food and the pleasure it brings. Whether you bond with someone in the preparation of said food or in the enjoyment that comes when you get to sit down and share a meal together. I love getting to know the wonderful ladies (and sometimes Men!) who work day in and day out to prepare such delicious food for me when I am in Belize. They are beautiful people with beautiful souls. They never waiver in their response when I ask if I can help them and they take the time to show me how everything is done. Never once getting frustrated if I mess up; instead they say “Try it again!” Over the years, I’ve learned how to make almost every staple food of the Belizean culture I claim. From Jerk Chicken to Rice & Beans to Fried Plaintain & Cold Cake. The knowledge is welcomed and the product is delicious.
So, Keep in mind next time you travel: Get in “good with the cooks.” You never know what new found skills you’ll travel home with. AND if you happen to be horrible at cooking, at least you’ll eat well while you’re there 🙂
*Stay Tuned Tomorrow For A Blog Post Dedicated Solely To The Recipes Of Belize.*