Culture and cuisine: The Jamaican way of life

A place is defined by the culture it holds, and a very important part of the culture of a place is the kind of food the people of that area eat. Jamaican cuisine defines the cultural and historical heritage of the island. There are many interesting anecdotes behind many dishes. You can get good Caribbean food in Maryland too, but the island has the authentic stuff! We will discuss these stories around the dishes popularly eaten in Jamaican cuisine.

1. Ackee and Saltfish: The national dish of Jamaica is ackee and saltfish and is eaten for breakfast but interestingly, none of the ingredients of this dish has originated in Jamaica! Ackee was brought to the island mostly from Africa with the slaves that had come to work on the sugar islands. Codfish was a hugely popular game fish in the 1800s and was brought to the island as a source of cheap protein by the Europeans.

2. Jamaican Oxtail: Oxtail is literally an ox’s tail which is a gelatin-rich meat. The Jamaicans have adapted it as their own, but it is a widely eaten meat in few other countries as well, namely, Italy, Korea, China, United Kingdom, South America, Indonesia, Spain, and more. It is also kosher, so it is used by Russian Jews in their dishes too.

3. Jamaican Pattie: This is mainly a patty which is spicy meat and local veggies shaped into a circle and fried and then eaten with bread. The Spanish eventually lost to the English and then when the English came, they got the patty tradition with them. Now, it is a Jamaican food item and has many local vegetables and leafy greens in it.

4. The Jamaican Curry/Lamb Curry: Curry is primarily Indian in roots. When the English came, and the slavery system started to dwindle, the sugar fields on the Jamaican island needed cheap labor, and so, the Indians came in as India was also a British colony. They got the curry tradition with them, and also the mutton or lamb meat curry is quite an Indian addition to the food culture of Jamaica.

5. Jerk: This is meat, usually of chicken which is dried up and can be stored. The roots of this food item lie in Africa, and it must have arrived with the African slaves to the island.

Caribbean food is close to Jamaican in culture and tradition with slight local changes. One can get authentic Caribbean food in Maryland also. The list of available options and dishes in extensive! The best Jamaican food in Maryland can be had in authentic places around the area. Get the best Jamaican food in Maryland, but before that, know the story to enjoy it more! Know where the food has come from and what the journey has been for the item to become popular in a particular cuisine. With Jamaica, this is really a matter of pride that so many cultures have amalgamated into it and become Jamaica itself!


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