Life and Food in the Caribbean
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The West Indian kitchen today, five hundred years after Columbus, is a wonderful blend of flavors and cooking styles. The islands are blessed with some of the richest soils in the world, and the different peoples who have settled there have developed a vibrant hybrid cuisine. Scottish rebels, enslaved Africans, indentured Portuguese and Chinese, and finally the East Indians–all of these brought with them their traditional foods and cooking techniques.
This book takes as its framework the stratified history of the islands from the early times of European exploration to the present day. The author draws extensively on original sources, such as diaries, which describe voyages from the China Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic, and the implantation of new lives in the islands. She has collected recipes from the differing cuisines of all the peoples who live on the islands, and she portrays the way of life that has developed through the generations. She writes: "The Caribbean is an esthetic as full of emotion as a work of art. The air you breathe, the light that fills you, the myriad voices of nature and the past, the soil that provides for you-all these, wrapped together, are expressed in the kitchen."
was a flourishing business, it was a struggling existence for the men who worked on the boats. The whale boat owners not only owned the boats, but all the equipment too. It required great skill and courage working in those waters with only a harpoon in an open 8 m boat. The crewmen received a third-share of the whale meat, which they took home to their settlements and salted what they could not eat straight away. The owners shipped their part of the meat to the fish market in St Vincent, keeping
stream waters with narcotic juices from local plants and stupefy, but not kill, the fish. Or, if heavy rains were clouding the waters of the rivers and streams, they would make woven wicker baskets to put into the water with a bait inside that the fish particularly liked. They then preserved them by slitting the flesh and rubbing in salt, of which they were especially fond. They obtained their supplies from the Savannah where it occurred naturally and used it for bartering; later they procured it
then leave for thirty minutes. Now whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks and fold into the batter. Dip the pieces of oyster into the batter and fry in enough vegetable oil to cover them at 190°C (375°F). To test the temperature, first fry a small piece of stale bread, which should turn golden in forty-five seconds. The Chinese market gardening and vending was much against the planters’ will, since at heart they were terrified that their indentured workforce would develop a way of
imported across the Atlantic at great expense. Finally, to reduce the expense of bringing the Indians from half-way round the world, the planters were obliged to grant them parcels of land at a nominal rent, which helped the Indian in some cases to leave behind him his squalid existence in the lodgie. The contractor would clear this land and plant it with cocoa seedlings shaded with a banana or plantain stool – a group of suckers planted close together – between which he grew his own crops of
Revolution. These fifty families followed lives steeped in tradition and self-esteem. Yseult Bridges described how at four every afternoon the servants would arrange her mother, with a rustling of silk petticoats and billowing gauzy skirts, on the verandah to receive visitors. ‘She greeted them in exactly the manner she deemed the circumstance required. Her smile was always in evidence, but its quality, the angle of her handshake and the whole poise of her body were nicely adjusted to correspond