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Jamaican cuisine is famous. But our comparative advantage in Cockpit Country is probably for those dishes which are unknown to visitors from industrialised countries: root crops (really tubers, not roots) such as sweet and bitter cassava (bammy) and the many varieties of yam; breadfruit with its history of being imported by Captain Bligh; green banana (a surprise to tourists who only know ripe banana); dumplings. Note that boiling is the most usual way of cooking: fat for frying was less available in the past and few people had ovens. Jerk pork is an exception and was originated by the Maroons in Jamaica as a way of preparing meat for storage and without creating smoke which could be seen by the British military. Cassava is particularly interesting because it is poisonous unless processed and you wonder how the processing method could have been discovered: how many people died in experimenting? What possessed the survivors to keep on trying with different methods which weren’t fatal?

While it is possible that visitors will not appreciate all our meals (mannish water and chicken-foot soup spring to mind), these items should nevertheless be served as part of a choice: they will provide a talking point and an interesting memory.

In addition to the food itself, we should also highlight the preparation and cooking methods and utensils: cassava ‘cutacoo’ and sieve, yabba, calabash, mortar & pestle, three-foot pot, jerk pit. Storage methods can also be highlighted.