Survival Guide for the Caribbean Cook.
When I first moved to Georgia, I was faced with the reality that I would no longer be able to walk one block from home and find just about any ingredient from Guyana and the Caribbean. I lived in Richmond Hill, New York for almost 2 decades and had become very used to the convenience of living in “Little Guyana.” You could walk into any grocery store and find cow face, or salted pigtail or “one foot fowl” (dasheen leaves). This would not be the case in Georgia. How did I overcome this obstacle? I became resourceful.
I started looking for ingredients in International Markets, Asian and Latin stores. When I needed curry powder or garam masala I would go to the Indian grocery store. At the Asian markets I was able to fine 5 spice powder, Chinese sausage (lap chuong), chinese long beans(bora) and various fruits. Most of the fruit and vegetables were known by a different name, so be prepared to use google if you’re not sure it’s the same. For example, soursop pulp is packaged as guanabana which is the Spanish name for soursop, I also picked up maracuja which is Portuguese for passion fruit. By simply googling the name will provide all the known names of that particular fruit. Many countries outside of the Caribbean and Guyana have the same climate and vegetation as we do, hence the same fruits and vegetables.
When it comes to meat not easily found in the supermarket such as oxtails or a goats’ head, take a trip to the butcher, chances are they have every part of the animal even if it may not be for sale. Depending on where you live, these parts might be considered trash since no one typically eats it and you may be able to buy otherwise pricey meat for dirt cheap. My brother lives in Middle-of-Nowhere South Dakota and was able to buy an entire cow tail (oxtail) for a mere $2 which typically sells for $4 per pound. Be prepared to bargain a really low price…you never know, you may even get it for free.
For those who do not live in culturally diverse cities and may not have these options available, use the internet. You can order just about anything online. I hope my tips work for you whether you live in Arizona or Australia, because they have helped me survive living in Georgia.
14 oz Soursop pulp
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
*6 tbsp condensed milk
Place soursop pulp, vanilla ice cream, milk and condensed milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a pinch of nutmeg and mix.
Pour into a glass and sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top. Enjoy!
Notes: *Adjust the amount of condensed according to your liking.