By Larry Waight
Tanya McNab is the visionary behind the highly regarded Flavors of Belize magazine – cookbook and robust YouTube channel. McNab created the Flavors of Belize cookbook to engender an exchange of Belizean food and culture with the rest of the world. It is her wish that every kitchen will experience something special from Belize.
I met with her recently to find out more information on the magazine and here is how our conversation went:
Please tell me more about Flavors of Belize Magazine?
The Flavors of Belize Magazine is Belize’s first comprehensive culinary book. We get hotels, restaurants, and service providers including anybody from real estate agents to photographers to come on board with us; we combine that with noteworthy information, entertaining articles, breathtaking pictures, and recipes from our cookbook – and there you have it – The Flavors of Belize Magazine.
How did you come up with the title “Flavors of Belize”?
We struggled with a name that would be the right fit, becausef even at the start, while the future was unknown, we knew this project would grow significantly after its birth and so we wanted a name that was literal enough for someone to know exactly what it was the minute they looked at it. The word “Flavors” encompass such a wide range of things and we thought it was the perfect fit, and of course we wanted the name “Belize” to be on anything we did.
Tell me a little bit about the cover of the publication. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?
The publication cover changes every year. I am not only the publisher, but lead graphic designer on the project. Each year, the cover takes a different light, but we like to focus on things that we do best! Such as our seafood, which is always fresh, our local and fresh produce and use of items that are an essential part of cooking in Belize. The cover coming in 2014, utilizes the combination, or seafood, plantains, rice and the coconut – all part of essential everyday meals in Belize.
What inspired you to start this publication?
The project was a natural progression as our design business had been working on publications within the tourism industry and while traveling one day, found a similar periodical for a different destination, we knew right away this was something Belize was significantly lacking and took it upon ourselves to start to create it.
What fascinates you about Belizean Cuisine?
The fascinating thing about Belizean cuisine is that we are able to pull influences from all over the world, while still being able to call it our own and stand apart from all of them. Due to Belize’s rich history of welcoming so many immigrants from across the globe, our country, culture, and inevitably our cuisine has become a fusion of these many different influences and that is what makes it so special. We have dishes that can blend the curry brought here by the Indians with chocolate, a staple of the Maya for a dish that is a hint at both cultures but so different that it’s in a category all on it’s own. We don’t realize how lucky we are to enjoy good food almost everyday with such ease and inexpensively at that.
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