Day 11: Celebrate William Walker's Failed Personal Colonization Attempt in Honduras
 

The history of Honduras, like most Central American countries, is woven with clashes between outside forces (usually the Spanish) and Mesoamericans, some of the most notable being the Mayans, Aztecs, and Zapotecs.  The local demonym for Hondurans, Catracho, is one example of how these clashes shaped the local culture.  This name goes back to a time where the American megalomaniac, William Walker, attempted to organize a private army in order to subdue Central America and establish colonies under his personal control.  While this sounds crazy, he did achieve some success, even becoming the self-imposed President of Nicaragua in 1857.  In response, a coalition of Central American countries rose up against Walker, resulting ultimately in his execution in in Honduras in 1860.  The two brothers Florencio and Pedro Xatruch who led the forces against Walker where hailed as heroes and everyone called their soldiers by the name Xatruches.  This name, being difficult for many to say morphed into Catracho.

You can't make this stuff up.  

So, Huzza for the revolution; come celebrate their victory with us over some traditional Honduran food. The Meal begins with a bean a queso dip served in these pottery pieces that look like they are fresh from a dig under the Mayan temples--complete with flame below.

I think this is from the set of Indiana Jones

Next, try the national dish, Sopa de Caracol, or conch soup.  What is a conch you say?  If you were a kid in the 90's and played video games then you probably remember chasing Conch shells in "Jaws".  Sopa de Caracol is reminiscent of a light bodied Gumbo with more veggies and a sweeter note at the end.   Although the dish is purely Honduran, it has been popularized throughout South America through the pop song, Sopa de Caracol by Banda Blanca.  Be forewarned, it is 80's fabulous (read: some things can't be unseen).

Sopa de Caracol (Conch soup)

If you are into food that is in the "meat pocket" family, try the Pastelitos.  These are essentially Honduran empanadas.  One of the unique differences is in the crust.  Pastelitos have a corn flour crust, so they are good if you are looking for something gluten free.

Finally a personal favorite of mine, Baleadas.  When people ask me what Honduran food is like, my first response is always "imagine a tortilla that is like eating a cloud."  Imagine no longer.  This traditional breakfast food comes with many fillings from the simple red bean and queso duro baleada to the more intricate carne asada filled variety.

Baleadas with Meat

Try the Horchata to drink, but if you are used to this drink from other places, be warned, theirs is very "grainy" at the bottom.  Tip: skip the straw and drink from the glass.

 

Matt Besch, a local folk sensation, tells us about his journey into international food.  He has been "touring" with us since we started, and although his recent picture holding a fork for the first time in a month didn't exactly break the internet, it at least put a crack in our corner of it, reaching more than 1,500 people within the first few hours of posting it.  Check out his impromptu interview.