Sunday, November 23, 2008
Guyanese Cuisine Background 1
My first exploration into Guyanese culture is not music. Normally, one would think that is the direction I would take first. However, a man must eat first and play music second. Music and food are two of my favorite passions in life, yet, I must begin with what counts most.
(above: Breadfruit is a staple fruit in Guyana and is commonly prepared roasted as show below)
A good friend of mine, Sarah D., tells me that Dutch Pirates were the first to colonize Guyana. The country is located on the northern coast of South America and borders the Caribbean Sea. Since it is the only nation in South America to speak English, Guyana is culturally closer to the Caribbean island nations than to the rest of South America. As a result, it is formally recognized as a Caribbean country (wikibook).
Guyanese Cuisine is comprised mainly of eggs, rice, bread, cheese, coffee (yum), chicken, beef, fish, beans, seasonal fruits and vegetables. This (along with seafood) constitutes the bulk of the diet for many coastal communities in Guyana. However, communities of the interior may have limited variations of this diet.
Today, the two largest ethnic sub-groups in Guyana are of Indian (East Indian) descent (43.5%) and of African descent (30.2%).
( Rotie is traditional Indian bread and prepared in Guyana as Dhal Puri)
"Guyanese foods have a distinct blend of influences from East Indian, African, Amerindian [indigenous peoples of S. America], Chinese, Caribbean, and European cultures. They are usually based on seafood, Creole cooking, and Amerindian dishes like pepperpot, a spicy stew that is cooked in cassava juice. East Indian dishes such as roti and curries are widely prevalent along with Chinese foods. Guyana is widely known for its Demerara sugar (named after a region in Guyana) and also its rum" (wikibook).
More on Guyanese cuisine to come!