A recently published cookbook A Caribbean Mom’s Table by Dorel M. Callender, offers 200 traditional and modern dishes designed for today’s cook. It aims to capture and preserve the wide array of delectable multicultural dishes enjoyed by generations in the Caribbean, Jamaica’s Observer reports.
The idea for this cookbook came from Callender’s deceased Grenadian husband Dr C Victor Callender who believed that ‘you are what you eat’, and wanted to ensure that future generations would eat Caribbean foods. A world traveller who visited over 50 countries and lived in seven, he was a dedicated and enthusiastic fan of Caribbean foods and dishes who believed that the essence of Caribbean culinary heritage could be preserved if traditional recipes were formulated to utilise 21st Century cooking facilities and techniques with simple, easy to understand instructions. The book is according to author Dorel Callender “dedicated to Charles Victor William Fitzpatrick Callender, who hoped that Caribbean cuisine would continue to flourish in the 21st Century and beyond, and to our late friend and mentor Jamaican chef Norma Shirley who brought international recognition to Caribbean Cuisine”.
The cookbook’s content was sourced from research, notes, tips and instructions from countless family members and friends, as well as from conversations and pointers from outstanding cooks like Grenadian Mamma, Bahamian Cindy Williams and Jamaican Norma Shirley. Critical knowledge and information came from sampling food and dishes in Dorel’s travels to many of the 7,000 islands and mainland Caribbean and from cooking and messing up countless dishes in her own kitchen. Caribbean dishes have always been the central feature of meals on her table.
Traditional Caribbean cooking is time-consuming. Seriously, the preparation time of traditional dishes can take several hours, some require days! Mindful of today’s fast paced lifestyle, the book features best-loved dishes, some dating back to the Native Indians and African Slaves, that have been simplified, modernised and adapted to the use of the microwave oven, slow cooker, high speed blender and food processor. Imagine, porridges or turned corn meal (coo coo) prepared in minutes in the microwave with minimum stirring!
A feature of the cookbook is that it offers glimpses of Caribbean history that illustrate how historical events have dictated the foods and dishes that are found on today’s tables. Each dish can be viewed as windows on the colourful history of the islands. Those glimpses also illustrate that modern Caribbean cuisine is an eclectic blend of cooking cultures and techniques from all the major cuisines of the world. The reason is simple: During the past 500 years, the islands were visited by waves of conquerors, explorers, buccaneers, pirates, traders and missionaries who were Native Indians, Spanish, French, British land owners, African slaves, indentured Chinese and East Indians and Dutch Irish, French, German, Jewish, Lebanese, Portuguese and Scottish immigrants. All have contributed their foods, spices and cooking methods, which over time have been melded and combined to become a bold, unique cuisine.
Dorel Callender nee Hay’s career has been in public service. She has worked for the Governments of Canada and Jamaica. She headed Jamaica’s first Economic Division of the Foreign Ministry; represented the Government in numerous international meetings and events and was the first woman to serve on the Board of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). As advisor to the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) for 15 years, she initiated and coordinated that institution’s assistance to the Caribbean.
Dorel was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Government of Jamaica, and has received several other awards including the 2004 UNIA Marcus Garvey Award for Community Service to the Caribbean/American Community of Greater Washington DC, and the 2006 Award for National and Community Service from Wolmer’s Alumni Association (US Chapter). Dorel Callender has a BA (honours) MA in Economics from the University of Toronto, Canada.
She has two married children and two grandchildren: Caribbean cooks all.
Copies of A Caribbean Mom’s Table in Jamaica are being sold for $(J) 3,000.00. Proceeds will go the foundation in memory of chef Norma Shirley and to Wolmer’s School For Girls. Mrs Sonia Mills and Ms Elaine Melbourne are spearheading these activities.
In the United States the cookbook is being supported by Ms Doreen Thompson, Founder of the Washington based Caribbean Food Alliance and book signing events sponsored by Jamaican HE Ambassador Audrey Marks. Grenadian HE Ambassador G Gillian will offer similar courtesies later this year. The Fairfax County Library, Alexandria, Virginia has scheduled a lecture and book signing for September 2011.
For the original report go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/food/A-Caribbean-Mom-s-Table_9249633#ixzz1TSbbW5gp