Atlas y Calendario de Fiestas del Patrimonio Cultural de Panamá

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Cooking by Fire


[Rocks used for building the fogón]

Rocks used for building the fogón


[Pieces of wood ready for use as combustible]

Pieces of wood ready for use as combustible


[A pair of fogones shown heating water in order to cook.]

A pair of fogones shown heating water in order to cook.


[A smaller fogon being used for cooking a chicken sancocho.]

A smaller fogon being used for cooking a chicken sancocho.


[A fogon can also be on top of a table. In that way, the ease of using it is similar to the ease of using a stove.]

A fogon can also be on top of a table. In that way, the ease of using it is similar to the ease of using a stove.


[The Embera people also use a variety of the fogon. Theirs do not feature stones, as the pots lie on top of large logs that slowly burn.]

The Embera people also use a variety of the fogon. Theirs do not feature stones, as the pots lie on top of large logs that slowly burn.


By:

Marino Jaén Espinosa
2009-03-29

In Panama, the most traditional way for cooking meals is the use of a fire, known as fogon. However, in recent decades, this custom has been replaced by the use of gas and electric powered stoves, and even microwave ovens.

A fogon is a device used by cooking by direct fire. Usually it is a outdoors process where three rocks are placed in a triangular pattern. The rocks serve as support for the cooking pan to rest above the combustion area.

The pieces of wood used as combustible are place in the openings created between the three rocks. Sometimes, kerosene is added to help fuel the combustion.

There are other types of cooking devices. One of them involves digging a hole in the soil and putting the wood pieces inside. This resembles an oven. Also, there is a indoors variety of the fogon. This small fogon is build with adobe and can be placed on top of a table, in the same way a table stove is placed.

As any outdoors person could tell, the flavor of a fire-cooked meal is very distinct. In Panama, most traditional dishes require this special taste in order to be considered authentic.


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