While I love traveling, I have never considered moving away from my homeland. I can’t see myself living anywhere but Belize – there is just too much that I love from our little Caribbean jewel. I often ask friends who have moved to a different country or are studying abroad what they miss the most about living in Belize, and while the first answer is almost always family, what often follows is food. I can’t blame them; I sure do love my Belizean food too. Their longing goes beyond the traditional dishes however, and often extends to the ingredients found so easily in Belize that they can’t get easily wherever they are.
We grow up surrounded by all these flavors unique to the different cultures across the country. Belizean dishes can usually be recreated anywhere, with the right ingredients. To this day, I still remember my grandmother buying only one certain brand of red recado, insisting that any other would change the flavor of her meals. It is these little, perhaps peculiar, traditions we grow up with that make it challenging to cook our classic Belizean meals in any other country.
My friends living abroad say, “When we miss the tastes from home, that’s when we need our Belizean Care Package!” But what is a Belizean Care Package? It’s mostly food and ingredients we easily find at our corner store here in Belize, but to my friends living abroad, these simple items sent by family can be lifesavers!
So, what are in these care packages? It all depends on the food one grows up loving to eat and their cultural background. However, there are some essential items that are a must-have in every Belizean Care Package. For starters, the best way to say you care to a Belizean living abroad is by sending them some good ole Marie Sharp Pepper Sauce – we love our spicy food and while Marie Sharp is found on international shelves, it is only available in select stores. Also making the list is local rums and spirits – after all, you can’t find Traveller’s Belizean rum just anywhere. One of the more, may I say, strange items we seem to can’t get enough is Happy Cow soft cheese (used in our signature cheese dip) and Dutch (Edam) cheese; you would think that something we import would be easier to find abroad, but that just isn’t the case. Throw in some local spices (like Sazón Completa and recado) and you will make any Belizean living away from home a happy camper!
If you are a Belizean living abroad or just know someone who loves Belizean cuisine, send us your dream Belizean Care Package list to [email protected] ; who knows, we may just be able to fulfill your dream.