The Caribbean includes islands and countries as diverse as Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Antilles, Guadeloupe and Martinique, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Virgin Islands. Common foods like seafood, chicken and coconut, as well as recipes like jerk and callaloo, unite these islands into a heterogeneous culinary paradise.
"If you don't know Dorinda Hafner, meet her in these pages and learn to laugh with her. If you do, savor her again. She is a part of an unbroken circle of tradition, and her placing the food of the Caribbean into the perspective of African-Atlantic continuities is important for us all. But hey...it's not that heavy. It's about good food, great flavors, good fun, and fine people, and you might just learn something along the way."
—Jessica Harris, May, 1996
Ghanaian-born Dorinda Hafner is renowned throughout Australia and the U.K. for her television series, A Taste of Africa and A Taste of the Caribbean, where she paired her irreverent humor with traditional recipes from her homeland. The series and their accompanying books have helped elevate African cuisine to international status.
Dorinda's book, Dorinda's Taste of The Caribbean: African-Influenced Recipes From the Islands, and a television series which aired on public TV. With both she shared the delicious results of her Caribbean journey.
As a culinary sleuth, Dorinda explores Caribbean cuisine from an African woman's perspective. Concentrating mostly on the islands of Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Guadeloupe, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, she finds that many of the recipes are familiar to those of her African upbringing, while other dishes are less familiar having sprung entirely from the islands' unique culture. What is common to both is the ability of the people to cook up culinary sensations with local produce and variations on their traditional recipes, despite economic hardships.
As a professional storyteller, Dorinda offers vivid and moving descriptions of her island experiences, shares the tales of the islanders themselves, and sprinkles the text with local proverbs. Each island's chapter opens with a one-page description of its history, food, and people. Recipes include appetizers, soups, entrees, and desserts. Dorinda also treats us to exotic drinks using the local spirits of rum, Curacao, and banana liqueur. The island chapters include:
Cuba: Sopa de Frijoles—Bean Soup; Quimbombo Roast Pork and Okra Stew with Plantain; Barbara 's Bunuelos—Cassava Fritters with Sweet Lime Syrup.
Curacao: Beef and Coconut Soup; Papaya Stoba—Papaya Stew; Tutu—Savory Black-eyed Pea and Cornmeal Cakes.
Dominica: Plantain Soup; Roasted Breadfruit; Conky—Spiced Cassava Cooked in Banana Leaves; Tickle me Belly—Pancakes with Mangoes in Liqueur and Lime Jelly.
Guadeloupe: Crabs Farcis—Stuffed Crabs; Bebele—Seasoned Breadfruit and Vegetable Stew with Pork and Dumplings; Gateau avec Citron et Mango—Lemon and Mango No-bake Cake.
Jamaica: Pepperpot Soup; One Can—One-Pot Vegetable Jambalaya; Dokono—Cornmeal Dumplings Cooked in Banana Leaves; Yeah, Man—Jamaican Milkshake; Pina Colada.
Trinidad and Tobago: Smoked Herring with Coconut Bread; Roucou Shrimp and Ginger Wine Sauce; Callallo—Spicy soup made from the green leaves of the dasheen plant; Sorrel, Ginger, and Rum Drink.
General Caribbean: Avocado Mousse; Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup; Green Mango Salad; Spiky Snapper; Soursop Milkshake.
Dorinda's Taste of The Caribbean is a sampling of cross-cultural insights, anecdotes, and recipes. From the sad past of the Caribbean slave trade emerges a delicious cuisine that is unique to the region and as inviting as the people's smiles.
As a Ghanaian woman living abroad Dorinda wanted to find a way to remain true to her heritage and build a bridge of understanding between her African culture and the world at large. She first trained in nursing in England and then worked in Australia. In Australia, she gave Cuisine Africaine parties in people's homes with food and tales from her homeland. The parties were an instant hit. Her Taste of Africa and Taste of the Caribbean television series were born from these evenings, and aired in Australia and the U.K. Hafner is also the author of A Taste of Africa and I Was Never Here and This Never Happened—Tasty Bits & Spicy Tales From my Life, (both Ten Speed Press, 1996). She lives in Adelaide, Australia.
Dorinda's Taste of The Caribbean
African-Influenced Recipes from the Islands
By Dorinda Hafner
$16.95 paper, 160 pages with illustrations throughout
Ten Speed Press, 1996
Reprinted with permission
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