We hopped a short flight to Belize and found our way to Progresso, a small village in the district of Corozal. Progresso has little more than 1,000 people – my high school alone had more than three times that – and so I was pretty jazzed to get a taste of small town life.
Progresso’s gravel roads are lined with trees, grasses and the occasional stray cow. There’s one restaurant and general store, and roosters seem to outnumber people. All the kids swim in the lagoon and share the water peacefully with a contingent of crocodiles.
We had the pleasure of eating some delicious food in Progresso, starting with salbutes at Ondina’s house. Ondina has five children – the oldest is 12 and the youngest just turned one. She’s a fabulous cook, and supports her family by baking bread, pies and other sweets and selling them around the neighborhood. Right now, she sends her children door-to-door with baskets of sweets to sell, but she hopes to get enough money together to open a small stand outside her house to sell the goods instead, so her children can focus on school.
Her salbutes, a Belizean specialty of fried tortilla topped with shredded chicken, tomato and cabbage, were a revelation.
Belize’s fertile landscape offers plenty of variety. Plantains, mangoes and other fruits and vegetables grow abundantly.
Fried plantains are another Belizean staple – they go well with beans and rice.
Check back soon for recipes of these delicious dishes!