It’s been a while and after an extremely tough week I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to share with you about my beautiful country. I know I live a stone’s throw away yet I am no part of the Vincy diaspora. One who is in the Caribbean and home yet very much not at home. Today I am lucky to have love packages from home so that I don’t feel entirely left out but I want to in our fortieth year share with you some sights and flavours I miss dearly from home.
I’ve come to find norm in a single starch single meat meal but where I come from there is an entire palette on your plate on a Sunday. Let me know if you have had any of these before.
DISCLAIMER: I take no credit for most of the footage I’m about to post so feel free to big up the authors. Thank you to those who have given me a way to quell my nostalgia and a happy independence to all.
1. MADUNGO BAKES
Here’s a madungo bakes recipe from a beautiful young lady called Avalou Baptiste. Feel free to follow her. We tend to add saltfish to several of our starchy meal bases and this is one of them. Madungo is primarily made of what we call arrowroot which at one point was a major agricultural export of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. You’re more likely to find Madungo bakes in frequency up north among the Kalinago villages of Sandy Bay and Owia. They are a major eat in Garifuna culture. And definitely a memorable favourite of mind with its bready, coconuty, grainy flavour.
Avalou Baptiste narrating how madungo bakes and saltfish are made.
2. COCOA TEA
I’ve learned that over the years, cocoa tea has been a grounded staple for breakfast in the islands of Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. After adding some bayleaf, milk and sugar, not even eggnog can compete in warming you up on a cold December night. There are also folks who put dumplings in their cocoa to give it just enough substance to fill the belly. There is so much nutritional value in ingesting these cocoa balls or sometimes sticks. I usually get them already made so all I have to do is cut them or grate them into a pot with water, boil it with all the other goodies and voila. Featured below is my cocoa in a jar a great friend of mine provided me with to satiate my homesickness.
Breadnut is a fruit I quickly discovered is uncommon where I live now. So imagine my excitement when my Vincentian grandmother in law located some for me right here. The savoury munch of a breadnut is unforgettable. Similar to bread as its name suggests but not nearly as soft. My childhood is full of binge eats after boiling them in the pot and when you come upon the rancid ones it can put your addictive hand to mouth rhythm to an undesirable halt. When you do get good ones of these goodies though its worth every bite. Below is featured my hand holding some a got a hold of recently.
4. FRUIT COCKTAIL
Christmas has always been dominated by Mauby Fizz, Vita Malt and Sorrel. But what I miss the most is Hairoun Fruit Cocktail. I remember on my Univeristy stint I actually walked up to a food stall and asked for it. I can’t tell you how confused the servers were. Of course I could not get that here. It is the sweetest of all in the series and for a long time it was my favourite one. Hairoun in case you’re wondering is the “flagship brand” of our local brewery named after our Carib name Hairouna meaning “land of the blessed”. The following image is provided by vincyfoods.co.uk.
5. BANANA FRITTERS
I’ve been missing this a long time but in this video you can see Vincy Cooking giving some easy to follow instructions on how to make banana fritters. Feel free to send me some somebody!
5. Beef Liver Stew
I’m not sure if this is native to vincy but I definitely grew up eating it. See this video where Haitian born Lamise provides a very similar recipe to the one that I know!
6. Ginger Beer
Ginger Beer is pretty accessible around the Caribbean but when my friend brought me this bottle of Ginger Beer syrup it did carry a special significance as I have not seen or tasted any authentic Ginger Beer in a very long time. How do you feel about it? Is it too “hot” for you?
Docuna is one of my all time favourite vincy foods. It’s made from sweet potato and wrapped in foil or banana leaf. For more information http://svgflavours.blogspot.com is always a marvelous resource on all things edible from the multi island nature. As someone who is not keen on sweet potato docuna has truly won my heart and I would do anything to have some right now! Below is an image of docuna and saltfish from the same site svgflavours. Go and check it out for more details on how to cook wonderful Vincy foods!!
8. Boil Up
I was going to attach an image of boil up I had cooked myself but it’s already in my belly so I am most apologetic. Boil up usually involves bringing together of several ground provision and lots of meat in a cast iron or giant pot with loads of spices and seasonings. Just about anything could probably go in a boil up and they are the centre of several family, holiday, picnic and lime gatherings. They’re very nutritious. It’ll come down to a soup with squash, pumpkin, peas, meats, green bananas, potatoes, yams, dasheens, ochras and all kinds of greens. This pot from Amazon should give you an idea of the kind of lime I’m talking about. Lots of people and lots of flavour. I will probably cook some on another occasion and swap out this image. Enjoy the nostalgia those of you who know what I’m talking about.
9. Tri tri cakes
Tri tri cakes are indeed among our pride and joy. They represent a very Vincentian tradition of descending to the brackish water and wading with very specific methods to snatch the tiny fish from the waters. They involve navigating the loneliest wilderness of bush. They involve cleaning, washing, freezing, making batter and then frying them up! They’re an acquired taste, many claim they have to get over the fish eyes watching them but they never disappoint!
Here’s a video from SatTech giving you some insight on how tri tri is caught in Vincy. Below it is a photo of my tri tri batter! When I’m done frying it it will look a bit like pumpkin fritters but with lots of specs in it where the tri tri is!
10. Callaloo Soup
The ultimate Vincy meal. Here is an illustration from my friend Vincy Power. Many of my associates hate it but it’s the best. Just the visual has my son saying “mama? mama? soup! nom! nom!” It’s his favourite and I think it so important for him to grow up with some of his heritage. I’ve got some in the freezer right now courtesy of my mama. Looking forward to cooking it!
There are so many more foods I can highlight that I miss. Sugar apple, plumrose, wax apples, roasted and fried breadfruit and fish boil in but there really isn’t the time or room! If you recognise anything here feel free to acknowledge and credit and share your opinion. And if you would like to bring me something feel free 🙂 Be sure to subscribe to the featured youtubers! Happy independence to the land of my birth, the gem of the antilles and everyone out there who calls it home ❤