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pickle
and
peppers
Cuisine
by ClARE WIllISON
of the
Caribbean
D
espite its geographical importance as one of the lemon juice, cucumbers, peppers and coriander, breadfruit oil-
crossroads of the world, and the diversity of cultures down cooked with coconut milk, salted meat and herbs. this
that have passed its way on merchant ships through is probably where the parson’s noses would also have made
the centuries, the Caribbean in general has not an appearance in the culinary repertoire, although the most
exactly been renowned for its food over the years. commonly known extension of this cuisine is jerk: the traditional
this reputation was highlighted to me on my very first visit Jamaican way of curing meat using a variety of spices.
some years ago. having dropped anchor in english harbour sailing from island to island is undoubtedly the best way
after enduring a 31-day transatlantic crossing, and desperate to sample the diversity of Caribbean cuisine, and the British
for some fresh produce, I rowed ashore to find the nearest Virgin Islands are no exception, with an astonishing variety
food store despite the late hour. I proudly returned to my and abundance of fresh local seafood available. surrounded
yacht brandishing a box of chicken pieces only to find that, in by ocean with numerous bays, cays and coral reefs, as well as
my haste to get back to the galley and rustle up a fresh meal the more protected waters of the sir Francis Drake Channel,
for the hungry crew, I had purchased three kilos of “parsons the area is world famous for game and fly fishing, and is

GEER
noses”. now, I am resourceful, spontaneous and adventurous in visited annually by thousands. Fish, such as tuna, swordfish,
:
S
TEVE
the galley, but in this instance I was devoid of initiative to make mahi mahi, flying fish, grouper, snapper, shark and kingfish,
.
C
O
M
T
O this indistinguishable from what it actually was. I wondered at are abundant and are found on most restaurant menus. salt
the time what the kitchens ashore would do with it. Island to the south of the channel was an important stop for the
T
OCKPHO
I have since discovered that West Indian food has its own British royal navy, and salt was harvested from the pans on the
:
i
S
A
CH
strong traditions and the best of it is delicious, with a good use island until relatively recently. one of world’s best wreck dives,
;
BE
M of local fresh fish and exceptional spices and fruits. Caribbean and now a national park, lies in the lee of the island – a 310-ft
.
C
O
IA cuisine is founded on many influences, combining those of 1865 royal Mail steamship which sank on 29th october 1867
F
O
T
O
l
the indigenous Caribs with French, spanish, Dutch and British in a ferocious hurricane with 300 passengers and crew. only

settlers, and indentured Chinese and Indians, although probably one passenger and twenty-two seamen survived and rescue

G
YNANE
the strongest influence has been that of the enslaved African was aided by inhabitants of the island. the Queen of england
:
JEFF
people. they had to be imaginative cooks as they usually had awarded guardianship of salt Island to these original inhabitants
SPICES to suffice with the remnants from the kitchens of plantation and their descendants in exchange for annual dues of one
©
owners, as evidenced in dishes such as cow heel soup and pound of salt. salt-based seasoning is still favoured in the British
GES
IMA pig-foot souse – slow-cooked pigs’ feet pickled in a mixture of and Us Virgin Islands and elsewhere. A basic recipe, ground in
MAY 2009 YACHTWORLD.COM 45
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