Thursday, January 1, 2015

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History In A Bowl- Soup Joumou

Bonne Annee!!! (Happy New Year)

It's the first day of a new year. If you are of Haitian descent this day is also a day when a very popular soup is eaten. Soup Joumou is widely served on January 1st in many Haitian households. Reason being is Haiti won it's independence from France in 1804. The actual independence day was November 18, 1803, but the declaration wasn't signed until January 1, 1804.

That led to Haiti becoming the world's first black independent country. The story behind this soup is truly remarkable. The soup (a delicacy) was once reserved only for French slave owner's, even though the slave's were the ones cooking it. When my ancestors fought the French and won, the soup that they were once forbidden to eat became a historical tribute. It's not just any ol' soup it's known as the FREEDOM soup.

*I didn't have everything I needed so I worked with what I had and of course the memories*

-Hot Peppers
-Seasoned Salt
-Pasta (any variety- I used Penne, just don't add the whole package)
-Boy (Dumplings) *optional*
-Epis (herb blend that should be made ahead of time for marinating meats)
-Beef Stew and Oxtails (this can be omitted if you're a vegetarian)
-Olive Oil
-Lemon Juice
-Pureed Pumpkin and/or Squash (you can buy frozen if you want)

The most popular vegetables fruits this time of the year

I cleaned and marinated the meats with the epis ahead of time. The way my time management is set up, I knew this was something I had to do so I don't get frustrated. Haitians are serious about their meat cleaning. If there's no lime scent coming from the kitchen… You can't be trusted. I'm just saying. :)

*Cook meat on stove medium heat; add olive oil; While the meat is cooking get a pot fill with water and start adding chopped vegetables; saving the spinach and hot peppers to be added towards the end. Let them cook then add pureed pumpkin or squash; Adding seasonings along the way for more flavor. Then add the cooked meat to the pot; add a small amount of pasta don't add all of them if you do it will take over the soup; when soup is almost done add the boy, hot peppers, and spinach; let it cook for a few minutes and your taste buds are ready for an adventure. Serve with bread.*

Growing up I see why there was so much pride and passion when it was being made. My mom would be up late the night before or up early in the morning to prepare this soup. I just knew it was about to go down when I saw all the vegetables lined up. The smell of freshness filled the air. The music, talks, and laughter bringing her back to her childhood in Haiti.

I remember my mom listening to the radio station that had an intro to Janet Jackson's- When I Think Of You. I thought she had it on the wrong station but I didn't say anything because I was ready to act a fool with my dancing. Then the radio host starts speaking Kreyol and that was the end of my foolishness. That station was her lifeline. It kept her connected with what was going on back home.  

For My Ancestors. Sak Pase! 

L'Union Fait La Force


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