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Spanish and Chamorro Culinary Collide in Guam

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The Paulino Outdoor Oven in Guam was built in 1947 by Jesus Meno Crisostomo of Inarajan and is representative of the vernacular outdoor baking structures built in Guam during the early 20th century. These ovens carry on a cultural tradition that originated with the Spanish settlement period (1668-1898). Although the construction materials used to build the ovens changed over time, the oven style retained the same basic shape. This oven represents a rapidly disappearing property type associated with long-standing cultural traditions of the Chamorro people of Guam.

Originally these stone and brick ovens were probably built to provide the foreigners living on Guam after A.D. 1668 with bread and other foods prepared in ways that were familiar to them. Over time the Chamorro, who cooked foods using hot rocks, adapted the outdoor ovens. Called hotno in Chamorro after the Spanish term for oven, horno, these ovens were traditionally used for the cooking of bread, biscuits made from grated coconut and tapioca, arrowroot or cycad flour, breadfruit, and meat from animals introduced by the Spanish including pigs, chickens, turkeys, and goats. The oven was built in a corrugated tin frame and has a base made of coral rocks and mortar.

Further investigation at the Paulino Outdoor Oven site could yeild addition information about construction techniques as well as the oven's use over time.

 

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Properties: Pottersville | Smyrnea Settlement | Sams Tabby Complex | Paulino Outdoor Oven
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feature prepared by: Erika Martin Seibert and Stephanie Massaro

 

 

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