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

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Sep 19 15:03:32 UTC 2003

In a message dated Thu, 18 Sep 2003 12:23:47 EDT,  Bapopik at AOL.COM
quotes inter alia:

> 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.

Any connectin to the word "buckaroo"?

> 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.)

Considering that "Bajan" is the common short form, or nickname, or something,
for "Barbadan", it is possible that palatalization occurs more often in the
dialect of Barbados than in other English-speaking areas.

> 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;...

What is "Guinea corn"?  It can't be maize, listed as "an occasional change".

Also, what is an "eddoe"? (also occurs in the next paragraph)

> 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.

"cassda" is a typo for "cassada" (the spelling used in the next paragraph)?

> 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.

The reference to "poisonous" quality makes it fairly certain that "cassada"
is cassava, also called manioc.

> Pg. 361:  We had afterwards pines, shaddocks, melons, water-lemons, and
> multitudes of fruits.

water-lemons?  Shouldn't that be "water-melons"?

> 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.

If a laba resembles a hare, then is is possible the word comes from the
French "lapin" (rabbit)?

          - James A. Landau

More information about the Ads-l mailing list