The cooking fire at home is an important site for the transmission, through the oral tradition, of the continuity of history and culture.
In Guatemala, cooking and eating around the fire is one of the ancestral practices that promotes communication between family members. The heat provided by firewood is exploited to cook and maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house, but also to transmit teachings and ancient secrets. The fire provides energy at the centre of family cohesion before and after the work day. Today, although families still gather around the stove, the practice is diminishing, in part because of the rising cost of food and firewood. This article looks at the way in which rising prices affect the use of firewood and considers the impact that this has on the transmission of cultural values from one generation to the next.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 46.6 (2015) Life Around the Firewood Stove: The Impact of Price Volatility