Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Styles of Food

The food cooked and eaten by the descendents of the Indian immigration is an interesting mixture of the food of the region they left, and their attempts to replicate it, and the exposure they have had to the African and Chinese peoples of Trinidad, and the food they eat.

There are then at least four distinct cooking styles in Trinidad.

The European cooking of the planters, adapted for local products, this is not very much mixed with African or others, the food following the society.

The East Indians who mixed with the African and absorbed more of their style. This was not by desire, one of Trinidad's major race problems is between Indian and African descended people. But the jobs they were brought to do, field labour, forced close contact. In addition the Africans had learned to adapt their food to the local vegetable and herbs. They had cultivated these particularly the roots, such as sweet potato, yams and dasheen.

The Chinese mixed a little with both, but their cooking style has remained fairly distinct.

Finally the African cooking which is the most common and most written about of all Caribbean styles. African cooking evolved the most, they were exposed to European food as slaves and absorbed this, as well as the Indian and Chinese food which followed. African derived food in the Caribbean is a melting pot, although the origins in African coast food are still quite clear.

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