Growing up in the Caribbean, the biggest meal of the day was lunch. Back in the day, most people worked in agriculture and need the energy to take them through a full day of hard work in the field. After a Big breakfast, a hot lunch would follow and the ‘tea-type’ small dinner that would be porridge, or bread and tea.
Most Caribbean lunches included rice, ground provisions like cassava (yam) and Taro/dasheen, sweet potato, green bananas; meat stewed in a sauce/gravy and kidney beans or lentils. To stretch the meal, dumplins would be included to keep one fuller for longer. This would be eaten in large portions, and we don’t normally eat snacks in the Caribbean.
Far from a desk job, the calories needed for a Caribbean work day exceeded anything that a sandwich or a salad could provide; and with very few cars, walking to and from work was part of the day for my parents when they were growing up. Both of my grand parents were banana farmers who never owned a vehicle or drove in their life.
The work was hard, and back breaking. My grand parents made sure my parents would never have to do such hard, back breaking work by sending them to university and training them in the jobs of the future.
Right now, the most valuable asset in the Caribbean are our farmers. We’re trying to bring that field of work back and dignify the role of our farmers in the community. We need more farmers, and as I get older, I enjoy more and more time in the garden growing my own food.
This weekend I made a smaller version of this meal for my family and that included; Caribbean style rice and peas, stew chicken wings in a gravy with dumplins. The gravy was enriched with vegetables like carrots, spring onion, celery and capsicum.
Severed as dinner and in a smaller portion for a more sedimentary life of a desk jockey.