Jamaican Cooking Traditions
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Jamaican Cooking Traditions

Entertaining Traditions for the Jamaican Cooking

Entertaining the Jamaican way is a traditional that has come from the old English, French and African cultures all blended into one method which has become the indigenous method of entertaining. This is derived from the Jamaican recipes used for specific occasions to how the table is set for each occasion; the formal menu for each occasion is also of great importance in how Jamaican events are staged. Whether it is the homemaker making dinner for her family or a chef that is preparing meals for several individuals in a restaurant setting or in an open arena there are several constants on how to entertain the Jamaican way.

Entertaining the Jamaican way for the homemaker.

Entertaining for the Jamaican homemaker is determined whether the setting is for a family for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In some Jamaican homes it becomes monotonous however in others these traditions are followed to the tee. In the Jamaican home there are three types of menus that are used. At breakfast the Jamaican menu is as defined as those for a Jamaican lunch or dinner. The recipes prepared for this menu include only 3 courses, a warm broth as an entrée, a main course which is usually a Jamaican meat recipe and a Jamaican fruit salad recipe to top it off. Get Jamaica has recommended several recipes for the homemaker to use to breakfast menu that we have put together to meet all the requirements of what a good Jamaican breakfast should entail.

Home Cooks Jamaican Breakfast Menu

Entrée: Jamaican fish tea, or Ginger tea, or Chicken broth.

Main Course: Ackee & Salt fish, or Callaloo and Bananas, or Brown Stewed Chicken and food, or fried fish bits with boiled dumplings.

Dessert: Jamaican grapefruit salad recipe, or Jamaican fruit salad recipe, or vegetable salad.

The Jamaica luncheon menu consists of not more than 4 courses. The Jamaican luncheon recipes are a bit less extravagant and less time is focused on these by the homemaker. Especially where children are concerned a good Jamaican sandwich recipe can be used or some leftover menu to make a great Jamaican patty recipe. In Jamaica most homemakers and cooks usually try and prepare light and easy Jamaican lunch recipes. Many of these recipes can be found in our Jamaican recipe collection. However for those cooks and homemakers who can find the time Get Jamaica has recommended a great four course Jamaican lunch menu that can be used to serve at least 3 – 4 guests or family members.

Home Cooks Jamaican Lunch Menu

Entrée: Jamaican coconut shrimp, or Jamaican Jerk Crab Back Recipe, or Jamaican Fish Balls.

Main Course: Jamaican roasted fish, or Jamaican baked chicken recipe, or Jamaican Jerk Nyam-wich, or Jamaican Sliced Ham.

Side Dishes: Jamaican Vegetable Salad Recipe, Jamaican potato salad recipe, Jamaican rice and peas, Jamaican roasted breadfruit.

Dessert: Jamaican coffee cake recipe, or Jamaican fruit salad recipe, or Jamaican sour sop drink.

The Jamaican dinner menu for the home cook is completely different from all other Jamaican menus. These recipe selections are dynamic based on the fact that Jamaican dinner recipes can be light and easy or full course recipes depending on the occasion or event that the Jamaican home cook is preparing for. A home cook can entertain friends with dinner recipes or prepare a meal for their family, a dinner for two or just a meal for the single. The Jamaican dinner recipes are not very different from Jamaican lunch recipes with the exception that the choices of recipes are more limited. Get Jamaica has put together a great Jamaican dinner menu packed with recipes that can be used.

Home Cooks Jamaican Dinner Menu

Appetizer: Fish Tea, Pumpkin Soup, Mannish Water, Finger Sandwiches recipe.

Main Course: Brown stewed fish baked chicken, curried mutton, stewed beef and roasted pork.

Side Dishes: Jamaican rice and peas, mashed potatoes, fried bammies, steamed vegetables and soft yams.

Dessert: Otaheite apple pie, plantain tarts, pawpaw sherbet, sour sop ice cream and coconut drops.

Entertaining for professional chefs and cooks.

Jamaican entertaining for large groups or in a restaurant setting does not differ in the recipes used by Jamaican home cooks. It is important to note that the difference in these two categories is based on table format, decorations, dishes and serving pieces and the Jamaican menu being served. Get Jamaica has focused on the aspects of the etiquette in entertaining the Jamaican way.

For the tablecloth use linen tablecloth. The dinner cloth is to hang evenly on all sides and should never be more than 10 – 12 inches away from the table all-around. For Jamaican lunch settings lace tablecloth is ideally used. Napkins being used whether for the Jamaican lunch or Jamaican dinner should match the tablecloth. Some chefs use a color tablecloth to enhance a colorful feature recipe to make the setting that more enticing. Using the correct plates is also important in Jamaican table settings. Jamaican service plates should be about 10 to 11 inches; Jamaican dinner recipe plates should be no larger than 10 inches, Jamaican appetizer recipe plates 8½ inches, Jamaican dessert recipe plates no larger than 7½ inches and Jamaican soup recipe plates approximately 8 inches in size.

How the cutlery is placed is also important. In Jamaica the following cutlery is used to dine with, the Jamaican dinner recipe knife and fork, the Jamaican fish recipe knife and fork, Jamaican tea knife and fork, the Jamaican cocktail fork and the salad fork. Jamaican recipe spoons include the teaspoon, the coffee spoon, the orange and dessert spoon, the salt spoon and the Jamaican soup recipe spoon.

So let’s review:

ü        Entertaining the Jamaican way is divided between preparing recipes by home cooks and professional chefs.

ü        Jamaican recipes and events depend on whether there is a breakfast, lunch or dinner.

ü        Get Jamaica has several recipe menus set up for whatever meal, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Some of the more popular Jamaican recipes are Fruit Salads, Jamaican Black Forrest Cake, Potato Pudding, Coconut Pudding, Coffee Cake and or Carrot Cake. These are usually served after a heavy main course meal.

To learn more about Jamaican recipes download our e-cookbook Jamaican Cooking Made Easy Volume III


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