Tag Archives: Jamaica

World Cooking – Jamaica

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Jamaica
Progress: 112/193

Despite many times cooking thing things from the Americas, it has been a long long time since I last made something from the Caribbean. The last time was Dominica and it was back when I was at the beginning of what would be a longish recovery from COVID-19. I am still thinking about those bacon-wrapped bananas and really need to find more reasons to make them.

With Jamaican food, there are a lot of options to make. The influences on the cuisine are from all over the world – although the main ones are from Africa and from the many nations of the Commonwealth. Unlike a lot of countries on this list, Jamaican food is something I have made before thanks to the 1001 food list. I liked the ackee and saltfish, but obviously I don’t really want to do a repeat when I don’t have to.

So there came the question of do I make something iconic or something a bit different…

Main: Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas

There was no question that I would be making this dish for Jamaica. Jerk chicken with rice and peas is an iconic meal and it isn’t one I have had before. I am not even sure I have had jerk chicken before, mainly because I have always been worried about the spice level. At least when making it myself, with this recipe from BBC Good Food, I would have some control over the spice level.

It’s not that I’m bad for spice, but I remember being 8 and getting scotch bonnet chilli on my face and it being worse than a bee sting. In the end, I ended up using two peppers instead of three (seeds and membranes removed) so I could taste the peppers without the spice being overwhelming. Instead it was this beautifully warming flavour with plenty of lime and some sweetness. I am a convert and think I might look forward to taking this recipe to some pork in the future – or at least to a barbecue should I find myself at one.

The rice and peas are a great accompaniment. The coconut milk helping if there is any spice from the chicken and the allspice helping to unite the flavours of the plates two halves. This plate is something I have just been too scared too make because of that one experience and I am so glad I got there now. If the comments section of the recipe say anything, whilst this isn’t from Jamaica this is a version that has met with the approval of many of the Caribbean diaspora.

As the weather still isn’t warming up for a while, I don’t think it’ll quite be the weather for the next Oceania weather. So it’s time to make something from Asia once again and it’s a long-needed return to the Indian subcontinent. Feels like it has been a while since I made some curry.

Around The World In 100 Films – Jamaica

List Item: Watch films from 100 different nations
Progress: 49/100

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 803/1007Title: The Harder They Come
Director: Perry Henzell
Year: 1972
Country: Jamaica

A benefit of being in the final 20% of the film list, other than the obvious, is being able to notice when there are new countries as the noise of other films clears. A big thanks to my husband today who spotted his new country and suggested that we watched it today. I hadn’t quite banked on seeing a Jamaican film as part of this 100, but it’s really cool to be able to add a second Caribbean nation to what is a slowly increasing list of nations. Hopefully more countries from this region will be added before I finish this particular challenge.

The Harder They Come is an interesting film on this list given that, on the songs list, I have seen the rise of reggae music outside of Jamaica. The spread of that genre was accelerated thanks to this film, which was a smash in its home country as well as a relatively big success. Reggae music is everywhere in this film, with the titular song being played a few times too often. Seriously though, if you end up having the same songs playing multiple times then you either need more songs or just have less sequences that relies on musical backing.

The film itself was fine. Just fine. If this was made in the U.S. I would say this was another blaxploitation film, but with a reggae music backing rather than funk or soul. However, being not of the U.S., this is a Jamaican crime film that contains some of the familiar tropes. The problem with that being that the central character of Cliff becomes such an overblown and psychotic stereotype by the end that I just stopped caring.

In the end, this worked best when it was a vehicle for reggae music and kinda became a semi-musical. Then it becomes some sort of crime spree film where any social commentary it was building up in the beginning is completely left by the wayside for shoot outs. There is a grain of a really good film, but it just ends up not delivering in what was an intriguining initial promise.