In this scene, Balam K'itze', Balam Aq'ab, Majuk'utaj, and Iki'balam are on a mountain with their wives, Kaqapaloja', Chomija', Tz'ununija', and Kak'ixaja', starving and eating no more than a corn-based beverage. This is one of many scenes in which the authors of the Popol Wuj show how corn is a gift from the Gods to the Mesoamerican people.
The sacred nature of corn is embedded in the name of the drink itself; as Christenson (2007: 208) notes, "Uk' is any kind of drink other than water. In this case the text specifies that it is a drink made from maize, or in other words, an atole. Maize atole is the principal drink offered on ceremonial occasions in contemporary highland Maya society (Bunzel 1952, 45, 233-234; B. Tedlock 1982, 65-66). At Santiago Atitlán, this ceremonial atole is called maatz'. Unlike the usual type of maize drink which is made from watered-down corn dough, maatz' is made from grain that has been toasted and then ground fine before it is mixed with two handfuls of ash and placed in a boiling pot of water."