Decorate your holiday meals (or any meal) with the tastes of the islands

This short history of Caribbean food is a great place to start. It may surprise you to learn that many of the food at the center of Caribbean cuisine did not originally come from the islands, but was introduced as a result of the slave trade and later migration.

As YouTuber Islander notes: “Many different cultures came through the Caribbean over the centuries, each one has left its mark on the daily lives of Caribbean people, from what they eat, to how they prepare it.”

Chef Anthony Mair specializes in Canadian-style American-Caribbean soul food.

Anthony’s mother was a pioneering cook in her own right. From her teaching, he developed his own culinary style that includes natural local ingredients and organic flavors from the Caribbean. That style inspired Anthony to produce his own product line of soups, spices and sauces.

Anthony owned and operated restaurants in Toronto; his first was Mardi Gras Bistro, which specialized in a Southern-style American menu. He later moved to Kiev, Ukraine and opened his second restaurant. After successfully launching the Mardi Gras Bistro series in Kiev, Anthony returned to Toronto to collaborate with longtime friend Carl Cassell on the transformation and operation of Harlem and Harlem Underground restaurants.

Enjoy this discussion with Chef Mair, where he talks about the need to change the conversation around Caribbean food.

Another Caribbean Canadian chef, Chris de La Rosa, created an online cookbook to keep their daughters connected to the food they love.

They were about to leave home to further their education, and I wanted them to bring Caribbean cuisine. Although I call Canada home, my little kitchen very much reflects the Caribbean … alive with spices, fresh herbs and delicious sauces. Caribbean recipes are not as well documented as other cultures are, and that is one of the reasons why you will almost never find a Caribbean recipe book at major book chains. I did not want my daughters to disconnect from their Caribbean heritage, and – more importantly – I did not want them to eat unhealthily.

Check out this yummy recipe for de la Rosa’s roasted butternut squash. It is vegan AND gluten free!

Chef Sarah Kirnons Cooking awaits those who live in or travel to Northern California.

Sarah Kirnon has a rich relationship with the Caribbean. She was born in Leicestershire, England, to a father from Antigua and a mother from Barbados. They wanted to protect their children from racism that was still ripe in late 1960s England, and they sent her to live with her grandmother and great-grandmother in Barbados at the age of four. She moved back to England when she was 13, and then returned to the Caribbean as an adult before eventually moving to Oakland, California, and opening her restaurant, Miss Ollie’s.

“I usually refer to myself as a Caribbean; I’m not saying I’m British, says Kirnon. “I was a very committed child: questioning and always eating. I think your senses and stimuli are open then, and that’s why I returned to cooking Caribbean food.” Miss Ollie’s is named after her grandmother and combines the sensibilities of a contemporary chef with the cuisine of her home. For Kirnon, Caribbean cuisine basically means comfort, and that’s what she cooks to share.

My mouth watered when I saw Kirnon cook salted fish and ackee.

In addition to Miss Ollies, Kirnon is also the driving force behind it Sanctuary, a non-profit organization dedicated creator from the black diaspora.

Kirnon also works with World Central Kitchen. She discusses some food history in this short video.


While I’ve making ham for Thanksgiving, my good friend Wenda will bring a Puerto Rican bone for Christmas dinner.

Want to do some bone? The New York Times Cooking describe it as pork shank marinated (preferably overnight) in garlic, citrus and herbs and then slowly roasted on high heat to get a crispy chicharrón or peel. ” Meet Von Diaz, author of Coconuts & Collards: Recipes and stories from Puerto Rico to the deep south.

For you vegetarians, I have not forgotten you! Check out the McNuff brothers. As Britain’s Channel 4 writes:

They had no formal education. But Shaun and Craig McAnuff had their grandmother’s recipes – with them when she came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation. Four years ago, the brothers published a Caribbean cookbook on their own, inspired by the old family favorites. It became a bestseller, which gave them a publishing business.

Check out the brothers ‘excitement for their ancestors’ kitchens.

I can not wait to read their new vegan cookbook coming out in January.

There really is something for everyone’s taste in Caribbean cuisine. If you have never tried it, I hope this encourages you to take a taste adventure.

Follow me in the comments for even more recipes and for our weekly summary of the Caribbean.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Read the first part of Caribbean issues here, and last week’s entry on New York movement here.

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