Dinner time in the Islands

Trying to remember the dish that made your mouth water somewhere in the islands, and can't remember the name or how to make it? Michael Goodwin has the online solution

Food in the Caribbean isn’t just about being hungry — it’s about the joy of being alive, and the unique explosion of flavours from Africa, Europe, India and China that makes dinner time in the islands the high spot of the day. A couple years ago we ran a column about Caribbean Cuisine on the Internet that proved extremely popular. Here’s an update: mostly new sites with a few of our favourites making a second appearance. You can’t eat Caribbean and not feel the fire of life burning in your blood! For those of us with a keen appetite for life and only an Internet connection to satisfy it, here’s some food for thought.




As all Caribbean citizens know (and visitors find out), access to a local roti shop after you return home from your island trip is not merely an option, it’s a survival necessity. If you’re unfamiliar with roti — a flour pancake wrapped around a vegetarian or meat-and-potato curry — you have a treat in store. This life-saving on-line resource lists roti shops in the Caribbean, Canada, the UK, and the USA, and includes several fairly obscure sites (Decatur, GA? Dayton, OH?).


Complete Book of Caribbean Cooking by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz


We can’t run a column about Caribbean cuisine without including our nomination for the single best Caribbean cookbook in print. This gastronomic mainstay has served Caribbean chefs for decades, and no serious cook with any interest in island cuisine should be without it. Especially with a price under $5! A full 14 chapters of recipes from around the Caribbean should keep you busy (and happy) for at least a decade.


Cherry Tree Hill Rum Cake


If you, like many newcomers to the Caribbean, are under the impression that fruit cake (or rum cake) is a low-grade irritant to be suffered during the Christmas season, you have never tasted the Caribbean version — which is a culinary delight. Ruby Seale, the owner of Cherry Tree Hill Rum Cake, was born in Barbados and learned the secrets of making a great rum cake early in life. Best of all, she will sell you one. But don’t wait until the last minute; orders may take 10-14 days to ship.


Cooking Caribbean Style with Macmillan Caribbean’s Cookbooks



Macmillan Caribbean, the British firm that claims to be the world’s leading publisher for the Caribbean, prints a wide variety of cookbooks. This site lists all of them, and invites you to try something from The Banana Cookbook, or mix a drink from Shake Dat Cocktail. Other tempting titles include Cooking With Caribbean Rum, and The ABC of Creative Caribbean Cookery. There are also sample recipes you can try before you buy.


Cooking With Caro



The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, boasts one of the most exciting cuisines in the Caribbean. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of French, Spanish and African cooking traditions. In any case, according to chef Caro, this is the original Dominican Republic cooking and food information website. You can check out sample recipes like Pollo Loco, Mangu and Habichuelas, order a copy of Dominican Cooking With Caro, or drop her an e-mail for answers to specific cooking questions — all in English.


Global Grocery


The Global Grocery specialises in hard-to-find cooking items from around the world — but if you click on the Search by Country or Search By Region icons, you’ll find yourself browsing through a list of tasty Caribbean specialties like Burnt Sugar (browning), Mango Marmalade and Plantain Chips.


Caribbean Food — E-mail Specials


If you don’t want to go to the trouble of surfing Caribshop every few days for new items, simply fill out this short, on-line form and you’ll begin receiving recipes and information about great deals on delicious Caribbean foods. Don’t forget to check out the on-line recipe book for a tempting collection of family specialties.


Recipe Center — Caribbean


This site features a huge collection of Caribbean recipes, everything from Caribbean Jerk Pork Roast (five different versions, all irresistible) and Callaloo, to Caribbean Kiss, Caribbean Joy, Caribbean Chat, Caribbean Sunset, Caribbean Casserole, even a Caribbean Turkey BBQ. Recipes are listed in English, French, and German, and if you have a special favourite of your own you’re welcome to add it to the collection.


Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and Marinade


Even in large North American cities it can be tough to find any Jamaican jerk sauce, let alone your favourite brand. (Addicts of Busha Browne, for instance, turn up their noses at Walkerswood, and vice versa.) This mail-order site offers a comprehensive selection of the world’s hottest and tastiest jerk sauces, plus some great recipes for putting them to work.

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