Have you ever heard the expression “It’s a small world”? Well, indeed it is!
From the cool mountains of the Andean region lies the second largest city and the capital of Antioquia in Colombia called Medellin. Then, we look to the land of wood and water located in the Caribbean Sea, the third largest island country – Jamaica. In both these places, we can find “La Mazamorra” or “Hominy Corn Porridge”.
Mazamorra or Hominy Corn Porridge – Colombian Street Food
By: Stacey-Ann Smith
A while back, some students invited me to eat one of their favorite Colombian street food after lunch. Upon reaching the shiny red jeep that had a big silver pot located at the rear of the vehicle we ordered this famous treat. I watched as the vendor stirred and scooped a white liquid with what seemed to be yellow grains combined in a container; then I was asked if I wanted sugar or “panela” (unrefined dried sugar cane juice) on the top, of which I chose panela.
I began eating the Mazamorra and to my surprise, it was ice cold! I made a face, out of shock of course and my students then asked me if I didn’t like it. It was Hominy corn porridge!”
(Tenemos esto en Jamaica que se llama Hominy corn porridge).
I had to explain the similarities and differences about the consumption of this unique dish. It was Hominy corn porridge – no doubt about it.
In Colombia, it is eaten cold because it is considered a dessert that is eaten after a meal. Whereas in Jamaica, it is consumed hot and it´s eaten preferably as a breakfast meal or a meal in general. Whilst growing up, my mother would sometimes prepare Hominy corn porridge on a Friday evening, complaining that she was in no mood to cook, as a result qualifying it as a meal.
Additionally, in the Jamaican culture, the sugar is incorporated in the cooking process whereas in the Colombian culture the process, it is reversed. The sugar or panela is added on top of the served mixture.
Let me reiterate, it’s definitely Hominy corn porridge, it has the same ingredients – milk, water, cooked corn and sugar in common. However, just consumed differently. I also know that Hominy corn porridge is sold as street food in the lanes of Downtown Kingston; so one can say that this too is a great similarity because in Colombia it can be found on almost every street corner and ally way.
The cost for the Mazamorra here on the streets of Colombia is two thousand pesos (2000 COP) = ($80 JMD).
It is a small world indeed!
Stacey-Ann Smith is from Kingston, Jamaica. She is an alumnus of Camperdown High School and she graduated from The Shortwood Teachers’ College having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Languages, Spanish and French. Presently, Stacey is an English teacher at a University in Colombia. She describes herself as a vivacious and loving person who also has a passion for traveling, taking pictures, her son Nicholas and Ashley, her adorable feline.