Soul Cocina

Eco Chef Roger Feely


Lo siento mucho Pachamama.  I am sorry Mother earth.  I was exploring the central market of Antigua, looking for new ingredients that I had never cooked with before.

Like pacaya which I saw growing in the potential future home of the SERES center and finca.

At the same finca I also discovered an hoja santa plant.  I didn't realise what it was until Gregorio, one of our friends from IMAP called it to my attention.

I use hoja santa in my mole pipian (a recipe I got from a friend from Puebla, Mexico) along with radish leaf, pumpkin seeds and green chiles.  All of these ingredients are readily available in Guatemala.

So I found picaya at the market.

And used it in a beet and orange salad.

Another new ingredient, for me, that I found at the market is the Caimito.  I tried this once in Maui where it is called star apple fruit.  In Vietnam it is called "mother's milk"

It is too late in the season for loroco, but I did get to make pupusas with loroco last time I was in Guatemala.

 As I was leaving the market in Antigua, I came across a woman cutting up a cooked armadillo.  This was definitely a new ingredient for me.  I had never eaten or cooked armadillo.

 I prepared the armadillo in a red chile - pumpkin seed sauce.  I fried the armadillo meat in it's own fat and added plenty of lime, onion and chile.  Like sisig, then I simmered it in the sauce.

 There was talk at the meal I prepared that armadillos may be endangered.  After some research, I discovered that although most armadillos are not officially endangered, many species are considered threatened.

The pink fairy armadillo is endangered.  It lives in central Argentina and is the smallest of all armadillo species.

The giant armadillo is a threatened species.

Although I am not sure what species of armadillo I bought, I am pretty sure it was not the giant armadillo or the pink fairy, based on it's size and the fact that giant armadillos habitat regions South of Guatemala and fairy armadillos are only in Argentina.

Pumas and Jaguars also eat armadillos in Guatemala, and apparently so do Catholics in Nicaragua during lent.

But even if the species of Armadillo that I bought is not endangered, some of it's predators are endangered, like the Jaguar.  So by eating the armadillo we may be competing with the Jaguar.

I am sorry Pachamama.  My ignorance does not make it ok.  I will be more conscience of the effects that my eating and cooking habits have on you from now on.

I may follow the route of the armadillo in one of my foodscapes projects.  Or maybe the Iguana.

I absolutely love this song and the Armadillo Project