History Of Jamaican Recipes
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History Of Jamaican Recipe

Learn the heritage of Jamaican cuisine

To understand why Jamaican recipes are considered the pearl of the Caribbean every Jamaican chef and cook must understand the rich history of Jamaica and how the merged culture of several nations has heavily influenced the Jamaican cuisine.

From as early as known inhabitants the Arawak Indians that used a ‘barbacoa’ (that looked somewhat like a barbeque grill) to spit roast meat, fish and chicken over a slow fire the tradition has carried on until present day and the cured or cooked meat has now become Jamaica’s famous Jamaican jerk chicken, Jamaican pork, Jamaican fish and sausages. The Arawaks also taught the Europeans how to use cassava to make bread which has remained and has become a staple Jamaican food in several Jamaican recipes.

After the arawaks came the Spanish that landed in 1494 their culinary preferences were added to those of the Arawaks when in about 1650 the Spanish brought cattle, goats pigs and lards from animal fat. The Spaniards also brought citrus such as lemon, limes and oranges. Other trees such as tamarinds, pomegranate, grapes and bananas were brought later and introduced to the islands. Dishes such as Escoveitched fish and many peas and bean dishes originated from Spain.

When in 1655 the English colonized Jamaica and ruled until the countries independence in 1962. However the English brought many different cultures to Jamaica and populated the country with African labor to build their coffers with the cultivation of Jamaican sugar cane.  The Jamaican cane was used to make Jamaican rum and Jamaican molasses and the African slaves fed on pork, flour, pickled or Jamaican salted fish and Jamaican bananas, plantains and other Jamaican foods which became a staple diet for them and has remained the case to this day. The English diet included dishes such as roasted beef or corned beef, Christmas puddings, buns, pies and tarts jams, and marmalades. The English settlers also brought the Jamaican breadfruit, otaheiti apples, Jamaican ackee, mangoes, rose apples, mandarin and oranges. Jamaican spices such as black pepper and meat seasonings were introduced to the island by the English settlers.

The African slaves after emancipation were joined by Indian and Chinese indentured laborers who also brought their culinary traditions as well and these heavily influenced the Jamaican cuisine. But we must focus on the African culinary preferences which have laid the most influence on the nation’s cuisine. Jamaican recipes such as duckunoo and Fufu are both of African origin coupled with ackee and salt fish, mackerel and bananas known as rundown are also of African origin. Across the Caribbean Jamaica has boasted the most diverse ethnicity and of course the most diverse culinary delights. This is major reason why Jamaican Recipes are truly known as the Pearl of the Caribbean. It is actually just the blend of the Jamaican recipes and the mixture of preparation techniques that have made the Jamaican cuisine so unique.

One popular Indian dish has become an authentic Jamaican recipe because Jamaican chefs and cooks have begun to prepare the meal in a much different way than the original Indian method. In about 1943 when Jamaicans of African descent began to prepare Jamaican curried meals in an original way, using more herbs and spices and actually using the curry spice on the meat rather than the technique of burning the curry in the oil while cooking.

This trend has taken place in many other meals such as Jamaican roasted fish recipe, Jamaican steam fish recipe, Roast beef, Fried and stewed chicken. It is this method of preparation that has made a stark difference in Jamaican recipes. Jamaican chefs have perfected the art of using herbs and spices to otherwise known recipes of other countries to give Jamaican recipes the unique culinary blend. Get Jamaica has documented all these methods in the flagship E-Cookbook Jamaican Cooking Made Easy Volume III.

So lets review

 ü        Jamaican Cuisine is a mixture of culinary preferences from as early as the Arawak Indians, Portuguese, Spaniards, English, African, East Indian, Chinese and later some French settlers.

ü        Jamaican recipes have taken recipes from these nations and made them unique through preparation techniques and methods and Jamaican herbs and Jamaican spices indigenous to the island.

ü        The motto of Get Jamaica is ‘Out of Many One Dish’.

 Download Jamaican Cooking Made Easy Third Edition


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