Food

Woman With Large Olla, Highlands, Guatemala, Late Classic (600-800 CE), Pottery, 37-13-200. Photo by the Penn Museum.

Woman With Large Olla, Highlands, Guatemala, Late Classic (600-800 CE), Pottery, 37-13-200. Photo by the Penn Museum.

The foods that Maya women prepared for their families-primarily maize, beans, squash, avocados, fruits, chili peppers, with occasional additions of turkey, fish, frogs, and mollusks, all flavored with herbs and spices-were cooked and served in locally made ceramic dishes, as well as pottery that had arrived via trade.

The large round pot known in Spanish as an olla is used for cooking and storage. The pottery figure holds a similar but slightly larger oblong pot that may have been used for water storage. The porous clay allows evaporation and keeps the water cool.