Jamaican Cookery

Jamaican CookeryA wise person once said, "All cultures meet in the kitchen." That is the quintessential Jamaican food story.

Our national motto, "Out of Many, One People," underscores the fact that Jamaica has been greatly influenced by the historical influx of Spanish, African, British, Irish, East Indian, Portuguese, Chinese and Middle Eastern immigrants. In successive waves, these groups, in turn, have brought their culture and characteristic dishes, which enrich the Jamaican cuisine.

West Indian food in general is spicy, but Jamaican food calls for a unique combination of "seasoning" for meats and savouries which includes lime juice, garlic, scallion and the incomparable, very hot but elusively flavourful Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper. However, the secret ingredient in most Jamaican cookery is the indigenous pimento berry or "Allspice." It is the judicious addition of this pungent spice that provides the exotic taste in a variety of traditional recipes, from soups to desserts, and especially Jerk, the well-known Jamaican style of barbeque.