>> Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Welcome to Tastes Like Home, my virtual dining table! I’m Cynthia.
I was born and raised in the only English-speaking country in South America – Guyana. Guyana is a multi-cultural society and you will see that reflected in the food I make. Guyanese trace their heritage to every corner of the world, but especially Africa, India, China, Portugal, and to the indigenous populations for whom the region has always been home.
I’ve been living in Barbados now for 18 years and so when I speak of home these days, I do not only refer to Guyana as home but also Barbados as both places contribute in different and significant ways to who I am.
I am a trained media practitioner and teach Broadcast Journalism.
As a food writer, I write a weekly newspaper column, Tastes Like Home which is published in print and online at http://www.stabroeknews.com/. Apart from my column, I also write freelance for a variety of regional and international publications. I'm a Contributing Writer to Christian Science Monitor - Culture (Food).
The food scene in Guyana is diverse and very different from that in Barbados and food was the main thing that I missed about being away from home. Sure I missed my family but I did not separate the two because the food was very much a part of my daily familial gathering. For me, food is more than what is on my plate; it is about the atmosphere, the people… My weekly newspaper column was created with the focus of chronicling the tastes of home that I missed. I started the blog to tie-in with my column and to give readers an opportunity for interaction. I also see it as a way to introduce people to Caribbean food and to emphasize that we are more than a garnish – some of you know what I mean, more than the slice of pineapple that sits on the rim of a glass, the slivers of mango that adorn a plate or the shreds of coconut sprinkled over something.
Over the years, Tastes Like Home has evolved and grown as I too have evolved and grown; so too has the food scene here in Barbados. Today, I can find 90-percent of the ingredients and produce that can create a taste of Guyana that I was missing over 17 years ago. I have incorporated the tastes of Barbados as a part of my tastes like home. Thanks also to phenomenal food bloggers who cook and write tirelessly, my cooking repertoire has and continues to grow exponentially. Today, Tastes Like Home has become the food I make and serve in my home, from various cuisines and influences. It’s homemade, it tastes like home.
As you peruse my blog, you will notice that many recipes are not posted online. The reason for that is three fold.
First – my aim was never to have a regular recipe-site; my focus is to have a conversation about food. Apart from that, sometimes I find recipes restrictive. Many recipes do not give the kind of freedom and excitement that comes with cooking. I would love it if everyone could learn to trust their inner chef. However, given that not everyone enjoys the thrill of uncertainty, the experiments, and the disappointments I figured that I should jot down an ingredients list along with directions. If someone was interested in a recipe, I’d ask them to email me and I’d send it along.
Second – at the end of my first year of column-writing and blogging, I began to think of writing a book given the enthusiastic response I had gotten from readers in the Diaspora. Having not published my recipes online has come in quite handy for me for my content will remain fresh for my book as the material is not published elsewhere. It also served as a valuable tool for recipe-testing because each time that I would send out recipes, I’d ask people to read through for easy comprehension and to send feedback about the finished dish etc.
Third – many of the recipes for Caribbean dishes and particularly the Guyanese recipes are embargoed by my publishers for my book, hence they are not published online. There are however, other Guyanese dishes online that are not in the book that you can email me for recipes such as Chicken-N-De-Ruff, Souse, Green Seasoning, Boil & Fry Ground Provisions etc. Other dishes that you see online, please do not hesitate to contact me for the recipe. I am very happy to share the recipes because that is what food is all about –sharing.
Photography & Equipment
I use a Canon EOS 60D and Canon Digital Rebel XT 350D along with their respective lens kit and when necessary close-up lens filters. I mostly shoot against a white or black background using poster boards. 99-percent of the times, I shoot with natural light but if I have to shoot in the evenings, I do so using regular house lamps fitted with Eiko Photo Pro Bulbs. Sometimes, I will also use 2 self-made reflectors.
All content – text and photographs are copyright protected work with all rights reserved. If you are interested in using any of my work, in any form or forum, please contact me first.
I read all comments and emails and try always to respond in a timely manner. Do not hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org for a recipe, blog or food related advice.