The different sparks of a cooking recipe

Guatemala, April 29, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    David Evans/Mercy Corps  </span>
    A traditional kitchen in rural Guatemala, similar to the one used for cooking demonstrations for Mercy Corps' PROCOMIDA program. Photo: David Evans/Mercy Corps

Part of the health and nutrition strengthening strategies used by Mercy Corps' PROCOMIDA program with Guatemalan communities consists of recipe demonstrations to beneficiary mothers.

I was thrilled by how one of the female field workers of PROCOMIDA was bringing in small details to her demonstration. She graciously put on her colorful apron, then searched through her backpack for some of the ingredients with curious eyes. Like a chef in action, she placed her recipe folder next to her pots and knives.

This demonstration kitchen is close to the community's warehouse, where we store food prior to its distribution in impoverished local communities. The kitchen space, which sits on a sand floor, consists of a counter with a wood stove in the middle. The mothers who participated in the cooking demonstration looked excitely at the eggs, oil and vegetables displayed on the kitchen counter.

Some of these women had their hands full because they were holding and/or breastfeeding their babies. Some others were running back and forth from the PROCOMIDA warehouse to gather their supplies. Fathers and other male volunteers who participate in the community`s health commission were breaking wood for the stove. Children were watching all of the moves.

Mothers took turns to dance with the spoons, mixing the different ingredients according to the instructions and patiently watching the pots on the stove. Men kept the fire alive. I savored the indulgence of all of the nutrients generated by the gestures of satisfaction of people cooking, of smiling children fed with yummy food and asking for one more spoonful.

Exquisite food made with 100% organic love and care of tender hands, the vehicle of good health for all. This is an example of a complete nutritional cooking recipe!

As they say in Guatemala — "Buen provecho!" Bon appetit!