Guyana @ 50 - Cook-Up Rice

>> Thursday, 26 May 2016

Today is Guyana's 50th anniversary of Independence. I deliberately chose to showcase Cook-up Rice today because I think it is a dish that is truly representative of Guyana. In past writings, I have used this dish as a metaphor to describe us - people of various ethnicities, cultural practices and walks of life - coming together in a singularly unique, creative and cohesive way to create a nation of people called Guyanese.

Just as a pot of Cook-up Rice is made up of various ingredients, each with its own distinctive properties such as textures and flavours, so too are we; we're all different and each one of us brings something special to the table. Just as a pot of Cook-up with various "obstacles" needs to have the ingredients staggered in the cooking process, so too do we in getting people to come to see that in order to survive and live well with each other, that we need to come together. Just as a pot of Cook-up requires the knowledge of a skilful cook to marshal the diverse ingredients into a cohesive dish, one where each ingredient offers an inimitable contribution to the taste, so too do we need leaders to move our country forward while making all of us feel equally important to the process and the sharing of the benefits.

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Cook-up Rice ©Cynthia Nelson


Guyana @ 50 - Pepperpot

>> Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Pepperpot is a famous Guyanese Christmas dish, though these days, some people make it all year round. It is a dish that originated with our Indigenous Peoples. The use of cassareep (a concentrated syrup made from the juice of grated cassava that has boiled for hours until it becomes very thick and black) is a key ingredient in the making of Pepperpot. The taste of cassareep is deliciously complex with hints of sweet, savoury and caramel. The preservative elements of cassareep is what facilitates Pepperpot being kept at room temperature for days and weeks without spoilage. Pepperpot is heated to a boil twice daily.

Read more about Pepperpot here.

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Pepperpot ©Cynthia Nelson


Guyana @ 50 - Plantains

>> Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Plantains in all stages are used in Guyana and the Caribbean. Whether green, turning, ripe or over/very ripe, we use plantains to make side dishes, main dishes, appetizers and snacks. Oh and we can't forget porridge. A favourite way of many is to enjoy fried ripe plantains (choose plantains that are very ripe with the skins partially or fully blackened). The high sugar content at this stage of ripeness quickly browns and caramelizes; pan-fried in a little oil these become morsels of pleasure. I find that adding a light sprinkling of sea salt while they are still hot, melts and creates a sweet-salty combo that you can't get enough of.

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Fried Ripe Plantains ©Cynthia Nelson

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