Caribbean food (Allsopp books); Notes on West Indies (1806)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Sep 18 16:23:47 UTC 2003


   I just received the Dictionary Society of North America's "Spring 2003"
newsletter.  With only about a week left of SUMMER!
   These books are due out in the "summer," but it's not summer, because I'll
be waiting for ProQuest's Chicago Tribune in late August.  (If I can only
pick stocks or bet on horses with seasonal timing like this.)

Pg. 2:
_Jeannette Allsopp_ is working on a Caribbean Multilingual Dictionary
(Engligh, French, Spanish, French Creole).  Volume I (Flora, Fauna, Foods) is due to
be published this summer.
_Richard Allsop_ has a publication of due out this summer (?...Also, it's
ALLSOPP--ed.): _A Book of Afric-Caribbean Proverbs_.  The book will have
approximately 300 pages.  The publisher is Arawak Publications, Kingston, Jamaica.

   "Flora, Fauna, Foods" probably won't give us historical citations, but I'd
like to look at it.  It's not yet published, AFAIK.

by George Pinckard
in three volumes
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees , and Orme
Reprinted in 1970 by
Negro Universities Press
A Division of Greenwood Press, Inc.
Westport, Connecticut

   OED has already gone through this book for about a dozen citations.
However, it did not include the 1806 "sandwich."  It's probably not our first New
World "sandwich," but I'll note it, anyway, for the "Sandwich Lady."

Pg. 245:  The hostess of the tavern is, usually, a black, or mulatto woman,
who has been the favored enamorata of some _backra_* man;...
*The negro term used for _white_.
   (OED has "buckra," defined as "A white man (in Black speech)."  The
citations are 1794 Buckro, then 1833 buccra.  You can hardly miss something like
this, but the OED person reading this book somehow did--ed.)

Pg. 264:  The instrumental parts of the band consist of a species of drum, a
kind of rattle, and (Pg. 265--ed.) their ever-delighting Banjar.
   (This "banjo" spelling is not in OED--ed.)

Pg. 346:  At two o'clock we had commenced with punch; after which came the
mandram; at three was served dinner; busy eating and drinking continued until
five; and then appeared the sprats, and bowl of milk-punch: thus did nearly four
hours pass in high banquetting and conviviality at this social cottage.
   (The revised OED has 1756, then 1814 for "mandram"--ed.)

Pg. 372:  He entreated us, with much kindness and urgent solicitation, to
make a visit to his estate before we leave Barbadoes, apologizing in his own
mirthful way, for not having it in his power to offer us more than a "plain
farmer's dinner,--_a pig, a duck, and a turkey cock_."

Pg. 76: This sense of distinction is strongly manifested in the sentiment
conveyed by the vulgar expression so common in the island--"neither Charib, nor
Creole, but true Barbadian," and which is participated even by the slaves, who
proudly arrogate a superiority above the negroes of the other islands!  Ask
one of them if he was imported, or is a Creole, and he immediately replies--"_Me
neder Chrab, nor Creole, Massa!--me troo Barbadian born_."
   ("Charib" and "Chrab" for Carib?--ed.)

Pg. 97:  In the course of the forenoon are used fruits, or sandwiches, with
(Pg. 98--ed.) free libations of punch and sangaree.  Immediately preceding
dinner, which is usually at an early hour, are taken punch and mandram.

Pg. 99:  The various species of red pepper, known in England under the common
term _Cayenne_, are used in quantities that would seem incredible to people
of colder climates.

Pg. 102:  The puddings mostly used are of citron, coco-nut, yam, lemon, and
custard, and do great credit to the Barbadoes cookery-book.

Pg. 102:  At such a moment, a draught of sangaree approaches nearer, perhaps,
to god-like nectar, than any other known liquor.  It consists of half Madeira
wine and half water, acidulated with the fragrant lime, sweetened with sugar,
and flavored with nutmeg.  A stronger sort of it is sometimes drank under the
superlative name of _sangrorum_.  This differs from the former, (Pg.
103--ed.) only in containing a greater proportion of wine.
   ("Sangrorum" is not in the OED--ed.)

Pg. 115:  The food of the negroes is issued to them weekly, under the
inspection of the manager.  It is very simple and but little varied; breakfast,
dinner, and supper being similar to each other, and for the most part the same
throughout the year.  It consists mostly of Guinea (Pg. 116--ed.) corn, with a
small bit of salt meat--or salt fish.  Formerly a bunch of plantains was given to
each slave as the weekly allowance; but the plantain walks being mostly worn
out, this is become an expensive provision.  Rice, maize, yams, eddoes, and
sweet potatoes form an occasional change, but the Guinea corn is, commonly,
issued as the weekly supply;...

Pg. 117:  A mess of pottage, or very hot soup, called pepper-pot, is one of
their favorite dishes, and one indeed which is generally esteemed by the
inhabitants, and by strangers.  It is prepared by stewing various kinds of
vegetables with a bit of salt meat, or salt fish, and seasoning it very high with
capsicum, or some species of the red pepper.  The vegetables, called squashes, is
much used in these pepper pots.  Bread, which is esteemed so essential, and
held as the staff of life by the people of Europe, is unknown among the slaves of
the West Indies: nor, indeed, is it in common use among their masters, but
they find very excellent substitutes in the yam, the cassda, and the eddoe.

Pg. 232:  Fortunately my bedding was not left behind with my other baggage,
and this is now put up in the windward apartment at out hospital barrack, where
I look forward to much comfort, from the protection of my musquito curtain.*
*A kind of gauze net without opening, thrown over the whole of the bed and
bedstead, and shut close at bottom, by means of a heavy border or lead, which
falls upon the floor.
   (The revised OED has 1770, then 1851 for "mosquito curtain"--ed.)

Pg. 233:  I now suffer considerably from the "prickly heat," but this would
be very supportable were it not for the additional, and greater torment of
musquitoes, ants, centipedes, jack-spaniards,* and the multitudes of other insects
biting, buzzing about our ears, crawling upon every thing we touch, and
filling the whole atmosphere around us.
*A large species of wasp.
   (OED has 1833 for "jack-spaniard...Not only is it here, in this classic
book, but it's in a note.  No way any reader can miss it--ed.)

Pg. 257:  Cassada cake and roasted plantains were served instead of bread,
and with our fowls we had a sauce prepared from the cassada juice, which loses
its poisonous quality by boiling and evaporation, and becomes somewhat like the
essence used under the name of soy.

Pg. 339:  We breakfasted and set off at an early hour, in order to have the
day before us, and arrived at this gentleman's abode just as he was sitting
down to his Dutch breakfast of very excellent crab soup, some fine fish, a
tongue, and a variety of other good things.  It is the custom of the Dutch to take
coffee in bed, or as soon as they rise, and to make a more substantial
breakfast of soup and solids about ten o'clock.

Pg. 361:  We had afterwards pines, shaddocks, melons, water-lemons, and
multitudes of fruits.  Nor were the fluids of the banquet less amply administered.
Hock, Claret, Madeira, and Port wines were in liberal (Pg. 362--ed.) use.  We
had also Seltzer and Spa waters, likewise bottled small beer, ale, and
porter, with brandy, rum, Hollands, noyeau, and other liquers--all in supply
sufficient for a lord, mayor's feast.

Pg. 422:  ..also a Laba, whose flesh is esteemed the most delicious food of
the country.  In appearance this animal somewhat resembles the hare, but (Pg.
423--ed.)  its meat approaches nearer to a mixed flavour of the hare, and of
very delicate pork.  It is dressed without casing; the skin being considered the
most favorite part of the idsh.  This is very thick, and in cooking becomes
gelatinous, like the calves head, or turtle.  The Indians scald off the hair or
fur, then cut the animal in pieces, and stew it in cassada juice, seasoning
it very high with capsicum.  Thus prepared, it is truly delicious, and if it
could be had in London, might form a dish not unworthy the notice of a
mansion-house purveyor.

Pg. 428:  A small species of deer, called _wirrebocerra_, the laba, and the
armadillo are among the animals they most esteem.

Pg. 428:  Very commonly they prepare their food in the form of
pepper-pot--their favorite dishes being crabs, or laba, stewed with cassada (Pg. 429--ed.)
juice, and seasoned extremely hot with red pepper.
   I can give testimony to both of these being very rich and good; perhaps in
point of flavour the pepper-pot of crabs claims the preference; but wither
might be a feast for an epicure.  In one of the huts we saw part of an
armadillo, which had been broiled or roasted in its shell.  It was well-flavored, and
in appearance and taste not very unlike young pig.  Water is their common
drink, but they sometimes use a fermented liquor called _piworree_, which they make
from cassada.  This is intoxicating, and has some resemblance to beer.

Pg. 41:  Diverted with the naked little _Pickaninny_, I took her upon my
knee, and danced her about, and played with her for some time;...

Pg. 299:  ...adding a laba pepper-pot to our boat provisions,...

Pg. 317:  He had been into the woods in the morning, and killed a fine laba,
which, immediately upon our arrival, was scalded to remove (Pg. 319--ed.) its
coat, and within a few minutes it was cut in pieces, and put into the kettle
with cassada juice, pods of red peppers, and various vegetables, for the
purpose of being stewed into a most excellent pepper pot, which in a little time was
placed before us upon the table.

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