Last week I wrote about the signs of a true Sanpedrano as they were typified twenty five years ago. The first ones were no shoes, rolled up pants, and sucking on a fish head. I imagine that at this point many people are saying, “Well, I must not be a true Sanpedrano or I don’t want to be one.” But there again I also feel that there are still a few true young Sanpedranos walking around as we had them twenty five years ago.
The true Sanpedrano likes to eat a good “sudado”. Oh yes, if you do not know what is a good “sudado”, then chances are you are not a true Sanpedrano yet. A good “sudado” is a stew or light soup made with the head and chest parts of the jewfish.
You can’t use any other fish for a “sudado”. Incidentally, the word “sudado” means sweating. Indeed after you finish eating a “sudado” you will probably be sweating due to its richness, hot peppers, onions, Belizean recado, tomatoes, and the fact that you eat it… hot, hot, hot.
Incidentally the dish is also called “sudado” because of the fact that the pot is allowed to sweat as you are simmering this delicious stew that is an authentic component of San Pedro’s culinary delectable specialties. The texture of the jewfish meat around the chest sections is unique to a sudado. Then you have the lips, skin, and flaps on the head that give you a jelly-like texture almost like a cow foot, for those who know the cow foot soup.
My good friend Eloysita was telling me the other day that her dad Pancho Verde prepares some good “sudado” and that her siblings have learned to enjoy it. Signs of true Sanpedranos for Ricky and Emily. Then there is my good Sanpedrano Gringo friend, Tom KirkPatrick (+) who used to enjoy a good crab soup and conch chowder. I bet he too would have enjoyed a good “sudado”. Will send you some, Buddy.
In the days when San Pedro was inhabited by Sanpedranos only, you could be sure that he wore his shirt partly or fully opened. Even boys went to school with their shirts partly opened, and when the teenagers dressed up to go out, they opened two or three buttons and at times did not button up any at all. Long before the belly-out style came out for the ladies, the men were showing off their beer bellies. Today, if you are staging a play and you want to depict a Sanpedrano fisherman, you would roll up his pants, unbutton his shirt, and tie the lower flaps of the said shirt.
Sanpedranos of the past also used to wear hats. There were all types of hats and worn in all sizes and shapes. There was the straw hat worn fully extended to work in the sun and these were used by the fishermen and coconut farmers. Then there were some fancy hats worn like the cowboys did, and these were used to walk about in relaxation in the village.
The older, respectable men used to wear a fabric hat made with felt with a small rim and tall body. These hats were expensive and worn only on festive occasions. I remember my grandfather Cruz Nuñez Sr. used to wear his felt hat and remove it anytime he entered a home, and he placed it on a chair, and then at the end of the day, he wrapped it in a plastic bag for protection. “Estos sombreros son caros porque vienen de España,” he used to say. (These hats are expensive because they come from Spain, he would say) Not so sure they came from Spain or Mexico, but hats were worn day and night in San Pedro and were part of our culture twenty five years ago. Now you know the tradition of removing your hat to show respect to the ladies. In other parts of the world some men will kiss a lady’s hands, while in San Pedro we used to remove our hats twenty five years ago.
Until next week, I’ll have more signs of a True Sanpedrano. Want to read more on this topic, then you can purchase your copy of the book “Twenty Five Years Ago” (only $30Bze) at Ambergris Today or stores around San Pedro. Contact me at this EMAIL for your copy.
– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist