>> Wednesday, 9 April 2014
It is time again to welcome another person to the MY FOOD table.
MY FOOD is an online research project and ongoing research into Caribbean food culture and food heritage. The project seeks to explore how we think about food, how we use it to connect and communicate, and the importance of food to our identity. For full details of the project and how to participate, click here.
Heading north, we arrive in The Bahamas and find lovely LaToya G.
MF: LaToya, a warm welcome to MY FOOD! How would you describe the food of The Bahamas?
LG: Bahamian food is very starchy. Delicious, but starchy. For example, in a single meal you can have Peas 'n Rice, Potato Salad and baked Macaroni Cheese.MF: Ah yes, if it is one thing the Caribbean is known for is diet rich in Carbs. What is your favourite dish?
LG: Baked Macaroni and Cheese. I especially like this dish because it was the first native dish that I learned to cook and I have been making it on my own since I was 15 years old. I'm 25 years old now and I would like to think that I am a pro at it. LOL.MF: I am quite sure that you are, especially with 10 years experience of making it. Tell me something, do you have a particular eating style, like weekend food and weekday food?
LG: During the week I eat mostly healthy lunches - salads, sandwiches or chips; sometimes I would eat a full meal. On the weekends, I may have fast-food.MF: What is a typical weekend dish that you look forward to?
LG: Cracked conch and fries.MF: I know you said that Bahamian food is very starchy, on any given Sunday, what's on the menu?
LG: Barbecued chicken, Peas 'n Rice, my favourite - Macaroni and Cheese and Coleslaw.MF: One of the things that is very similar throughout the Caribbean, and that we all have some version of is rice cooked with peas. Here in Barbados where I live, Rice and Peas is made with pigeon peas, is it the same in The Bahamas?
LG: Yes, the peas in our Peas 'n Rice is pigeon peas but we use the fresh, green version.MF: If you had to choose a dish or beverage that marks or identifies you as Bahamian, what would it be?
LG: Guava Duff - because the guavas are locally grown and when in season, they are plentiful. Guava Duff is a dessert and it is something unique to The Bahamas and it is enjoyed by locals and visitors.MF: When I think of duff, I think of a steamed dumpling. Is the Guava Duff similar? Can you describe it for us?
LG: There are 3 parts to Guava Duff - a sweet flour dough, stewed guava pulp and a thick, creamy sauce made with even more guava pulp. The stewed guavas are rolled in the dough (think swiss roll), wrapped tightly and steamed. It is cooled then cut into thick slices and served with a generous helping of the guava sauce ladled all over it.MF: Oh my, that sounds like THE perfect dessert for those of us who love guavas. I am definitely going to try making it when guavas are in season. Speaking of seasons, food is at the centre of most holidays and festivals, which is your favourite holiday/festival food?
LG: The fruit cake that is made at Christmas time.MF: Where do you generally shop for your food (vegetables, fruits, dry goods, meat, etc)?
LG: At the supermarketMF: Can you cook?
LG: YesMF: Do you cook? And if you do, how often?
LG: I cook twice a week.MF: What is the one dish that you can whip up in no time and can make off the top of your head without a recipe?
LG: Bahamian-style baked Macaroni and cheese.MF: How do Bahamians make their Macaroni and cheese?
LG: I use the word baked so as not to confuse it with the macaroni and cheese that comes out of a box (laugh). The cheese we use is cheddar and the pasta shape is elbows. In The Bahamas we make our macaroni and cheese with herbs, diced green peppers, onions and crushed red pepper (if you like it spicy).MF: Do you eat street-food?
LG: NoMF: Why not?
LG: No particular reason, I just don't.MF: If you're having overseas guests who are not from the Caribbean and you needed to make a couple of dishes that say this is Bahamian food, what would you make?
LG: For breakfast, I would make Chicken Souse and Johnny Bread. For lunch/dinner, it would be Conch fritters as an appetiser and cracked Conch with Peas 'n Rice, Macaroni and Coleslaw. Conch is a national dish so that would have to be there. For dessert, I would make Guava Duff. Everyone loves it!MF: You said that Conch is the national dish. Can you explain how the Conch is prepared as your national dish?
LG: Conch is prepared in a number of different ways; it can be fried, steamed or eaten raw. When floured and fried, it can be served with fries and a roll as a Conch snack. Or, it can be served with Peas 'n Rice, macaroni and coleslaw as a dinner. When steamed, it can be eaten with Peas 'n Grits or Peas 'n Rice. It can be eaten raw in Conch salad where it is diced and mixed together with chopped onions, green peppers and tomatoes. Fresh juice from limes and oranges is poured over the mixture to top it off.MF: Do you cook dishes from other cuisines or dishes from other parts of the Caribbean?
LG: No I don't, but it is something I would like to get in to the habit of doing.MF: If you were migrating forever what do you think that you would miss the most about the food of The Bahamas?
LG: I would miss the way the food is seasoned and its flavour.MF: If you had to take a food journey any where in the world, where would you want to go? Why?
LG: I would go to Belize because the country is a melting pot of cultures which has greatly influenced the country's cuisine.MF: Thanks for sharing your food with MY FOOD LaToya!
Would you like to share your food with MY FOOD? Know someone that does? Leave a comment below or inbox me directly. The project is opened to anyone that falls into any of the categories below, and you do NOT need to have a blog to participate.
- Caribbean/West Indian living at home
- Caribbean/West Indian living abroad (1st, 2nd, 3rd generation. State which generation you are)
- Non-Caribbean/West Indian married to/partnered with Caribbean/West Indian folk
- Non-Caribbean/West Indian but the region has been home for at least 5 years