Out of many, one people. Our nation’s motto perfectly describes how peoples from several different continents and races have come together to create the culturally rich Jamaica we know and love today. About 90 per cent of the population is of African descent, but the contribution of other ethnic groups such as the East Indians, Chinese, Germans, Jews, and Syrians/Lebanese to the ‘melting pot’ of our culture must also be acknowledged.
Speaking of this melting pot, Jamaican cuisine is also very diverse, with elements of each of these ethnic groups all mixed in. In honour of Heritage Month, today we share some recipes traditionally associated with each group.
The Amerindian peoples of Jamaica fall into two broad categories: the Ciboney and Arawak. The Ciboney, a name that translates to ‘cave dweller’ in the Arawak language, were less a single similar group of people, and more a way to describe the many primitive hunter peoples who migrated to the island from South and Central America. Some of these people arrived on the island as early as 5,000 BCE. These people lived in almost complete isolation for millennia before the arrival of a small contingent of Igneri in 600 CE, and the Taino around 300 years later in 900 CE. Though almost all trace of Amerindian Jamaica was wiped out by the Spanish conquistadors, remnants of their cultural practice and their bloodline still live on in Jamaica today.
1 pound sweet cassava
A pinch of salt
1 tin of coconut milk
- Peel and grate cassava, wringing out as much of the toxic juice as you can. Discard the juice.
- Add salt
- Divide the mixture up in to one-cup sized portions.
- Flatten each portion in to a thick disc shape.
- Add to a greased frying pan. Fry bammies over medium heat for 8-10 minutes on each side.
- Take out of the frying pan and soak in coconut milk for 5 minutes.
- Place bammies back in the pan and fry until they are a light brown colour.
Recipe from my-island-jamaica.com