Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Caribbean Christmas

The Caribbean has always been known for winter getaways but it;s also known for its' rich tradition of holiday foods. There are so many culture from the Spanish to the Dutch that celebrate Christmas and New Year's with many different dishes.Some follow their European orgins, while others take from the land and the sea. All in all it makes for delicious holiday cuisine that appeals to all the senses.

Some island people celebrate with roasted turkey, however it's not like the US roasted one. This one is redolent of spices and peppercorns, The meat is also rubbed with olive oil and cider vinegar as opposed to be rubbed with salt , pepper and butter before cooking. Other meats include goat and pork which predominantly figures on any island Christmas menu. Barbadans or Bajans (such as the singer Rihanna) make a spicy stew called jug jug, full of simmered beef and pork. Vegetable dishes reflect the islands wealth of greenery too. Many dishes employ native peas and tubers, cooked or stewed to accompany the main meal.

The Caribbean is also known for its' lush desserts and they come out in full force during the holidays. Since some of the islands like Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands were part of the British Empire, there is a strong leaning towards traditional puddings. The Trinidadians call it black cake and infuse it with rum. Coconut and guava are also big in holiday baking , serving as the filling for many cakes. Of course there is rum punch and sorrel tea (this from Jamaica ) which everyone drinks to toast health and a good New Year.

The Caribbean has its' own holiday recipes that span back several centuries. They represent the varied landscape that make up these colorful islands.

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