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This is the funny, heartfelt, and provocative story of how Fry painstakingly baked and boiled her way up the food chain, from instant oatmeal and flour tortillas to bush-green soup, agouti (a big rodent), gibnut (a bigger rodent), and, finally, something even the locals wouldn’t tackle: a “mountain cow,” or tapir. Fry’s efforts to win over her neighbors and hair-pulling students offers a rare and insightful picture of the Kekchi Maya of Belize, even as this unique culture was disappearing before her eyes.
“A poignant and revelatory coming-of-age story.”
— Carol Haggas
“Here is the very unsentimental education of an American bride, who is extraordinarily quick and bright but ordinarily squeamish about dirt, bugs, bare breasts, and chicken feet in her tamale. Her transformation into a woman who can cook on a stove made of river stones, pave a dirt floor with a paste of ash, slice a tarantula with a machete, and bond with her Maya neighbors even as she cools toward her anthropologist husband is stunningly honest, moving, and convincing. This is a memoir that ‘broadens’ in the way that travel is supposed to, and the recipes woven through the narrative are simple, exotic, and enticing. Now if only I could find a tapir . . .”—Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft and Bridge of Sand
"A poignant and revelatory coming-of-age story."—Carol Haggas, ForeWord
— Carol Haggas
"An entertaining coming of age story as a self-assured woman emerges from a sheltered young bride."—Sandy Amazeen, monstersandcritics.com
— Sandy Amazeen
-Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft and Bridge of Sand
-Lan Sluder, author of Fodor's Belize 2008 and publisher of the on-line magazine Belize First
-Denise Landis, former anthropologist and author of the New York Times cookbook Dinner for Eight: 40 Great Dinner Party Menus for Friends and Family.
-Sandra Tsing Loh, author of Mother on Fire
Posted May 11, 2010
I did not expect that the memoir of a young, newly married, exceedingly spoiled woman would be the source of revealing insights into comtemporary yet still traditional Mayan culture in Belize. Although not trained formally as an anthroplogist, the writer accomplishes just that type of intellectual, cultural discovery. Having taken a recent trip to Belize and wondering just how the Maya live and think beyond the typical tourist encounters, I was able to reflect back on the sights and sounds of my trip with renewed insights and refelections. Overall, it was a delightful read with an unexpected scholarly approach. The food reecipes were cute additions.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.