Food Culture in the Caribbean

Food Culture in the Caribbean

by Lynn Marie Houston
     
 

Food in the Caribbean reflects both the best and worst of the Caribbean's history. On the positive side, Caribbean culture has been compared with a popular stew there called callaloo. The stew analogy comes from the many different ethic groups peacefully maintaining their traditions and customs while blending together, creating a distinct new flavor. On the

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Overview

Food in the Caribbean reflects both the best and worst of the Caribbean's history. On the positive side, Caribbean culture has been compared with a popular stew there called callaloo. The stew analogy comes from the many different ethic groups peacefully maintaining their traditions and customs while blending together, creating a distinct new flavor. On the negative side, many foods and cooking techniques derive from a history of violent European conquest, the importation of slaves from Africa, and the indentured servitude of immigrants in the plantation system. Within this context, students and other readers will understand the diverse island societies and ethnicities through their food cultures. Some highlights include the discussion of the Caribbean concept of making do—using whatever is on hand or can be found—the unique fruits and starches, the one-pot meal, the technique of jerking meat, and the preference for cooking outdoors.

The Caribbean is known as the cradle of the Americas. The Columbian food exchange, which brought products from the Caribbean and the Americas to the rest of the world, transformed global food culture. Caribbean food culture has wider resonance to North, Central, and South America as well. The parallels in the food-related evolution in the Americas include the early indigenous foods and agriculture; the import and export of foods; the imported food culture of colonizers, settlers, and immigrants; the intricacies of defining an independent national food culture; the loss of the traditional agricultural system; the trade issues sparked by globalization; and the health crises prompted by the growing fast-food industry. This thorough overview of island food culture is an essential component in understanding the Caribbean past and present.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
These two volumes, Food Culture in the Caribbean and Food Culture in Spain, in a twelve-book series join others that cover Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and Central Asia, South America, Mexico, Japan, India, China, Italy, Great Britain, and the Near East, Middle East, and North Africa. The purpose of the series, as explained in the foreword that appears in each book, is to examine the role of food in the shaping of human culture. Each volume is consistently formatted, definitely a strong point for any series. At the front is an area map and a detailed time line. The chapters include a historical overview of the region, major foods and ingredients, cooking, typical meals, eating out, special occasions, and diet and health, with recipes provided throughout. One of the most impressive things about the series is that each volume has been written by an expert for that particular region and not by an author who has simply researched the topic. For example, Houston is a food historian whose writing specialty is Caribbean cuisine. Medina is a Senior Researcher at the European Institute of the Mediterranean in Barcelona and is an editor for the journal Anthropology of Food. Even with such a wide spectrum of authorship, each volume remains true to the philosophy of the series. Gathering and growing food is a common denominator for all people throughout history, yet how each group accomplished this task is unique to geographical area and natural resources. By studying the culinary rituals and traditions of others, one can develop an understanding and appreciation for the diversity in cultural attitudes toward food. The series also emphasizes a connectedness between cultures, a key conceptin today's climate of globalization. For example, in Food Culture of the Caribbean, the author asks the reader to consider what other world cuisines would look like without the foods that European explorers discovered there and took with them to other parts of the world. Similar questions are posed by the other authors. Overall this series would be a marvelous addition to any junior or senior high library. The books provide an excellent resource for students who are researching countries about which little has been written previously, such as the Middle East and Africa. Students who want more in-depth information about countries for which basic information has been readily available will also benefit. In addition, teachers of geography, world civilization, history, and foreign languages will find the series an invaluable aid for enriching their regular classroom lesson plans. (Food Culture Around the World). VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Greenwood, 166p.; Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology., Ages 12 to 18.
—Kim Zach

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313062278
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/30/2005
Series:
Food Culture around the World
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

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