Download Favorite Mayan Recipes for Canis Familiaris

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Mayan Recipe for Pek Stew
Copyright 2011, Ric Hajovsky
The Mayans had two varieties of Canis familiaris, the
xoloitzcuintli, otherwise known as a Mexican Hair-less, and
the tlalchichi (techichi in Mayan), a smaller, hirsute variety
introduced into Mayan culture by the Toltecs. Together,
they were both known as pek, or dog. The xolo is medium
sized animal (35-45 pounds) with smooth slate or reddishgray skin that often has white spots or blotches. Not all of
the dogs are born hairless; they are heterozygous, with one
recessive gene for a normal coat, and one dominate gene for
hairlessness. A mating of two xolos generally results in a
litter consisting of 25% of the puppies with hair, 50% hairless puppies, and 25% stillborn (the
fate of the ones with two recessive genes). These larger xolos were used as hunting and guard
dogs by the Mayans. The smaller Techici had another use.
The 17th century writer
reported the Indians of
Cozumel ate Techichi like
the Europeans ate rabbit.
He also stated that those
raised for this end were
castrated, so they would fatten up better. Bishop
Landa reported they were fed corn, often in the form of
tortillas, and the Mayans considered the meat quite
tasty. The archaeological excavations at San Gervasio turned up many fire-baked dog bones,
indicating that this was, indeed, the end result of many of these domesticated canids, who
were usually eaten when they were around one year old.
Dogs were also offered as sacrifices to the gods. Classic period graffiti in Tikal shows a dog
marching in a procession on its way to the sacrificial altar. Bishop Landa tells that dogs were
often sacrificed to the goddess Ixchel on Cozumel, and describes one such sacrifice. The heart
of the animal was removed and burned, and the blood used to anoint the idol. The animal was
then cooked and eaten. The usual recipe for sacrificial-dog-stew was to slow cook the meat in
an olla of water, chili peppers, and corn. The long-bones were removed from the stew and
cracked open to remove the marrow as dessert. Serves 12.