Food Is Our Culture
I was born in Trinidad and Tobago. I spent a significant part of my life there, from kindergarten to University. What stands out the most for me about growing up in TnT(as it is affectionately called), is our food. We love food. Food is our culture.
Many people ask me, ‘What is your national dish?” I hesitate to answer. Somedays I would say Pelau, (a popular rice, peas and meat dish).
Other days I would say Bake and Shark, Roast Bake and Saltfish Buljol.
Bake and Shark
Then there is Curry Crab and Dumplings , Crab and Callaloo, Roti and Buss up Shot or Breadfruit Oildown.
Crab and Callaloo
Don’t talk about or Sunday best, Macaroni Pie peered with Crab and Callaloo, with Stewed Chicken, Stewed Pigeon Peas and Coleslaw! Any of these dishes can be considered our national food. They are all yummy. All originating from a mixture of people who were forced to lived together from slavery, indentureship, and some cases, migration for a better life.
You cannot visit Trinidad and Tobago without tasting all of the above dishes. Dishes that originated from a diverse group of ancestors from different races and countries. They can be bought at various restaurants, hotels and street vendors. It is also very common to eat it at someone’s home.
Street food is very common in my country. I can say with absolute certainty that our national street foods are the ever popular Doubles and also Corn Soup.
Trinidadians will have Doubles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While they may also drink a Corn Soup anytime of the day, they typically do so after a party, or what they call a “fete’.
I am not sure what my life would be like, if I did not grow up in TnT, but one thing is for sure, I would not have it any other way. I will forever cherish the memories of the overpowering scents emanating from Roast Bake in the oven, the bread van delivering freshly baked “Hops bread”, the Corn Soup boiling, and some freshly made Sada Roti with Tomato Choka and Smoked Herring. I can go on and on about my childhood memories of food. The best food in the world.
In Trinidad and Tobago, we may not like each other’s politics, but we love each other’s food. Food is our culture!