I feel like I end up saying this phrase quite often to people, “In Barbados…”, and some random Barbadian fact comes out. Either about our customs, cuisine or just how everyday life is. I’m sure you can put two and two together to figure out I’m from Barbados. Yes, yes, that’s the island in the Caribbean where Rihanna is from. And NO, we are not all on the same landmass as Jamaica, but rather very far away in our little Caribbean Sea. November is the month of our independence from English rule, which ended in 1966.
As we celebrate our 54th year of independence, I’ve decided to share some Bajan delicacies with you all. Barbadian cuisine has evolved from African, Indian, European (English, Irish, Portuguese) and even South American influences. It’s delicious food and anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Hopefully, you can either try to make them at home or come to Barbados to experience them.
Instalments of this series will be posted weekly on my nutrition Instagram, @NourishbyCH. If you haven’t already, feel free to follow us there! I’ll post a summary of all the foods we chat about at the very end of this post when we culminate on 30th November for Independence!
Interestingly in the UK, I’ve only found a small handful of eateries that strictly cook Barbadian cuisine. This was really shocking because I’ve found so many Bajans sprinkled around the UK, and lots of ingredients are available for many of our dishes. If you do know any restaurants or pubs that sell Barbadian food, please share!
Now not every food is the ideal of healthiness (I’m looking at you fish cakes and souse) but keep in mind that food has a social, cultural and economic role aside from providing nutrients. Before the Portuguese first landed in Barbados in 1532, Amerindian people (Taíno and Kalinago) inhabited our island for many years. Our cuisine is truly a melting pot of the traditions passed on from our indigenous people, the English who colonized Barbados from 1625, our West African ancestors and minority groups which were also brought here. Some dishes like pudding and souse were simply derived from the ingenuity of Barbadians in using all that you had been given.
Are there any traditional dishes from your heritage that you think are similar to those in Barbados? What about dishes you know to be a mish-mash of leftover ingredients, but is a really delicious part of your culture?