Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Cooking with an Empire's Child - the West Indies

I couldn't wait to get started planning my first meal this morning. I decided to choose countries according to the order in which they were first colonised by the British. Well, I know that there may be a bit of overlap, so please all those History Professors out there, cut me a little slack.

The consequence of choosing this order is that I ended up dealing with probably the most difficult area of cuisine first. I asked my husband what food he would consider the West Indian national dish, and he said "dope?". That shows how much the cuisine has seeped into the global culture.

I did a little research, and you will be pleased to know that I did not choose Fish Tea, or Curried Goat for our menu this Friday, although they both appear on a list of Jamaican local dishes.

Instead, I am going with something I am sure everyone in the family will love, and it also fits in really well with summertime life as it is a barbeque recipe.

Image: haleysuzanne
Pork Jerk (you can also use chicken or fish) is a recipe of meat rubbed and marinaded in a unique spice mix and then barbequed. I will give a little more of the history of the recipe on Friday. In the meantime here is your shopping list. This will serve a family of 4. Just up or downsize as you need.

2  bunches spring (green) onions
1 onion
white vinegar
soy sauce
vegetable oil
fresh or dried thyme
small root of fresh ginger
ground allspice
ground nutmeg
ground cinnamon
fresh garlic
1 to 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers
1 1/2-pound pork tenderloin, or deboned chicken breasts, or firm white fish fillets

Jodi, who grew up in Barbados, writes a lovely summary of food she ate at her Grandma's growing up. She says "We had three staple side dishes that are made at dinner throughout the week; coleslaw, a plain salad and pickled cucumber" along with potato salad. So, to keep things simple this first week, and so your family is not too shocked, plan for these as sides in your shopping. If you don't like pickled cucumber, just slice up and serve plain.

I know this isn't groundbreaking stuff so far, but I thought I would ease you in gently. Maybe next week we can tackle Fish Tea...

Join me on Friday for the full cooking post with photos! I expect you may plan to make this on Saturday, as you will need to marinade the meat from 3 hours to overnight. Happy shopping!


Leesa said...

Keep all your food posts and publish a book when you're done:-)

You've obviously watched Julie & Julia?

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