MYF - Debra Gibson-Welch

>> Friday 20 June 2014

I've been travelling hence this 2-day late posting of MY FOOD.

The response to MY FOOD has been excellent and I am considering weekly rather than by-weekly posts. Will let you know what I decide.

If you are new to this blog, MY FOOD is an online research project into my ongoing interest in Caribbean food culture and food heritage. It seeks to explore how we use food to identify ourselves, connect and communicate. For full details and how you can participate, click here.

Debra Gibson-Welch is a successful marketing and merchandising professional. You can read more about her profession here but today, she is sharing her food with us. Welcome Debra!

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MF: Debra, you are originally from Guyana, where do you live now?
DGW: Atlanta, GA
MF: How long have you been living abroad?
DGW: 25 years
MF: How do you self-identify?
DGW: Guyanese
MF: What dish or dishes would you say identifies you as Guyanese?
DGW: Guyanese Pepperpot because it is the only dish in the world made with Cassareep and it is a symbol of our national pride of our native Amerindians and Guyana. Pepperpot is also unique in that it can last for weeks unrefrigerated as long as it is reheated twice daily; it gets better every day. The second dish for me would be Cook-up Rice. This one-pot dish of rice, peas and different meats, cooked with coconut milk draws its roots from our African heritage.
MF: What for you is a taste of home?
DGW: Pepperpot and Mauby.
MF: When you are entertaining what dishes from Guyana do you make to share with your guests?
DGW: Pepperpot, Cheese sandwiches, Cook-up Rice, Salt fish and Bakes. Curry and roti.
MF: If the people at your gathering are not West Indian do you  still make Guyanese dishes and do you take the time to explain what the dishes are?
DGW: Of course! I do explain and I ask them to try it at least once. One taste and all the food is eaten.
MF: What about when you go to outings like Potluck? Do you carry Guyanese or American dishes?
DGW: I would make meat or veggie Patties, Cheese Rolls or Cheese Sandwiches. Basically, Guyanese food.
MF: What are some of the rituals, traditions or practices associated with food from Guyana that you upkeep?
DGW: I make Pepperpot at Christmas because I want my daughter to know about food from Guyana. She loves Pepperpot.
MF: What was the food(s) you missed the most when you first moved abroad?
DGW: The pastries - Pine Tarts, Cheese Rolls, Cheese Straws and things like Salara, Salt fish and Bakes.
MF: What are some of the must-have pantry items that you always have stocked to make Guyanese food?
DGW: Cassareep.
MF: What type of food do you make and eat as a part of your everyday routine?
DGW: A mix of British, Italian and Guyanese.
MF: What is your favourite Guyanese dish?
DGW: Cook-up Rice. My mother's recipe.
MF: How important is it for your children to know the cuisine of your home/birth country? Why?
DGW: It is very important because we have to ensure that future generations know about and can make our native dishes. Our unique food and heritage must live on!
MF: When you visit home (Guyana) and are ready to return to your home in the USA, what are some of the foods/ingredients that you take/bring with you?
DGW: Cassareep, Cassava Bread, Pepper sauce and Pickled Mangoes.
MF: Is there any street food or shop-around-the-corner snack that was your favourite or makes you recall a fond memory?
DGW. Yes! Pine tarts, Cheese rolls, Cheese straws, Pickled mangoes, Tamarind in syrup and Patties.
MF: Is there any food or drink that you have put your special twist to that makes it Guyanese?
DGW: Rum Punch and Fruit Punch. I add papaya and Guyanese 10-year old rum!
MF: Is it important for you to keep a connection to Guyana through food? Explain.
DGW: Yes, it is important to ensure we preserve our fantastic history and heritage for future generations. We have to keep the Guyanese flame burning brightly for our children and their children.
MF: Thanks Debra!

Find Debra Gibson-Welch, online.

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Would you like to share your food with MY FOOD? Know someone that does? Leave a comment below or inbox me directly. This project is open to anyone that falls into any of the categories below.


  • Caribbean/West Indian living at home.
  • Caribbean/West Indian living abroad.
  • Non-Caribbean/West Indian married to or partnered with West Indian folk.
  • Non-Caribbean/West Indian, however, the region has been home for at least 5 years.

Join the conversation below or on Facebook and don't forget that it is easy to participate, click here for more details. The next instalment is Wednesday, July 2.

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