©2018 Pilar Eguez Guevara

Comidas que Curan presents

A documentary by Pilar Egüez Guevara about the health impacts and cultural and culinary traditions surrounding coconut by Afro-Ecuadorians in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.


"Raspando coco" (31 mins, 2018) documents the health impacts and cultural and culinary traditions surrounding coconut, as remembered and experienced by Afro-Ecuadorians in the northern coastal region of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. The documentary is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted and shot between 2012 and 2017 in multiple sites in Esmeraldas, and in Quito, Ecuador. Through the voices of medical and culinary specialists, as well as Afro-Ecuadorian cultural and culinary experts, the film offers a unique window into ancestral cooking methods and medicinal practices in coastal Ecuador. The film is a rare opportunity to hear the stories and get immersed into the day to day lives of black Ecuadorians and their struggle to preserve their traditions in the face of outdated mainstream medical recommendations and local and global economic pressures. The film shows nearly forgotten traditional recipes and home remedies made by grandmothers from Esmeraldas, such as hot chocolate made with freshly squeezed coconut milk.

“Raspando coco” resalta el valor cultural y medicinal de la cocina tradicional tal y como lo viven y recuerdan afro-ecuatorianos/as que habitan en varias localidades de la costa norte de Ecuador, provincia de Esmeraldas. El documental se basa en la investigación de campo realizada y filmada entre 2012 y 2017 en varias localidades de Esmeraldas y en la ciudad de Quito, Ecuador. Mediante entrevistas con especialistas culinarios y médicos, así como expertos/as culturales afro-ecuatorianos/as, “Raspando coco” ofrece una ventana hacia la cultura y creencias locales, así como los métodos tradicionales de cocina y medicina de Esmeraldas. El documental también se adentra en los impactos socio-económicos y de salud del consumo de alimentos locales.

Official Trailer (English Subtitles) - vimeo.com/comidasquecuran

Liberación Film Festival | Afro-Latino Festival (New York, Oct 2019), Official Selection

Firenze Film Festival (Florence, Sep 2019), Nominated for Best Foreign Documentary

Latin American Studies Association Film Festival (Boston, May 2019), Official Selection

Indie Short Fest (Los Angeles, Mar 2019), nominated for best documentary

Independent Shorts Awards (Los Angeles, Mar 2019), Honorable Mention for Best Female Director


Until the production of the spectacular film Raspando Coco, the extraordinarily rich and varied uses of cooked and raw coconut preparations were little known if at all out side of the region itself. Thanks to the writing, production and direction of Dr. Pilar Eguez Guevara, the varied cultural, medicinal, curative and culinary properties of the Manila coconut are now set forth for all of us to understand and appreciate. Even those who have studied in-depth and written extensively about Afro-Ecuadorian culture of Esmeraldas will learn a great deal from this important film. It is highly recommended for lay viewers, students in university classes at all levels, and required viewing by professionals in Latin American Cultures and African American specialists.

Norman E. Whitten, Jr, is author of Black Frontiersmen: Afro-Hispanic Culture of Ecuador and Colombia, and Histories of the Present: People and Power in Ecuador.

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