Thursday, June 1, 2017

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Caribbean Heritage Month

Since June 2006, Caribbean Heritage Month has been celebrated to highlight the contributions Caribbean-Americans make in the United States. I collaborated with some wonderful Caribbean gals to share their heritage. Check out what they had to say!


Petition-Ville, Haiti 2014

Nathalie: Hello all! I am among the first-generation American born in my family. Growing up, my parents did their best to immerse my brother and I in Haitian culture while living in the U.S., and I am so thankful for that. I was honored to have the opportunity to finally visit my parents country in 2014 as a college graduation gift to myself, and I felt even more connected to my roots! I got to see and experience life in Haiti as much as I could. 

There is a sense of resiliency and pride that comes with being Haitian, and it's something that you just can't describe. I absolutely love everything about being Haitian. From our rich history as being the first Black nation to ever fight and gain full independence from our colonizers, to our spirituality, down to our food. 

Speaking of Haitian food, I have been so lucky to have been raised in a household that provided authentic Haitian cuisine. It always called for intricatley prepared and fresh tasting food. There is a standard that must be met when it comes to the art of Haitian cooking. There are levels to this! Being that I am vegan, my favorite Haitian food is accra (malanga fritters) and pikliz (pickled peppers). Once you take a bite, you will encounter a perfectly crispy crunchy outer layer, followed by the soft textures and amazing blend flavors coming from inside. It is heaven! As for the pikliz... let's just say that is just the icing on the cake. You can't have accra without pikliz. See the full recipe here.

Boutillier Observatory, Haiti 2014

Again, I am a proud Haitian and I know that there is so much that Haiti can offer. We have had the eyes of the world upon us since gaining our independence in 1804. Sometimes, it feels as though Haiti has seen more bad than good, but one thing that has remained consistent is the strength and courage we have to help us face the day-to-day beasts that come in different forms. We always forge ahead! L'union Fait La Force! Happy Caribbean Heritage Month!

Nathalie can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube


Renz: What stands out for me with the Caribbean islands in general is the fact that we are so similar yet unique. I'm always amazed that we are so able to stand individually yet be a combined force influencing so many aspects of the world. Be it music, food, or fashion. 

My favorite Caribbean food is hard to pinpoint but I'll say my favorite is Trinidad Chicken Pelau

Renz can be found on Home Made Zagat, Instagram, Twitter, and FaceBook


Rowana: I know we're not an island, but we're definitely Caribbean! I love Caribbean people because we know how to party and celebrate. There's so much joy to be gained from good food and plenty of rum coupled with endless calypso, soca, reggae, and dancehall. I wish that we would channel that spirit of love and celebration into our personal lives by looking after our mental and physical wellness. Individual choices to take care of ourselves holistically can have a huge positive impact on communities both within the Caribbean and in Caribbean enclaves abroad. 

Nothing is better than my mother's fried bake and saltfish on Saturday morning! I sometimes make this dish for myself, but cooking is not my expertise, so I usually browse cooking blogs for recipes. My favorite is Jehan Can Cook. Check out her recipe for Bake and Saltfish.

Rowana can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and FaceBook


Tamara: I love how diverse and multidimensional Caribbean culture is. I constantly say it but we work hard and we play hard and I love that about us. 

Favorite food from home that I'm obsessed with is the Bajan national dish Cou Cou and Flying Fish. Right now though, I have been eating a lot of jerk chicken, macaroni pie, and plantains.

Tamara can be found on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Sak Pase!!!

Yours truly is of Haitian descent. Picking up from where Nathalie left off, I too grew up in a Haitian household. My mom was from Port-Au-Prince. She was one of those OG Haitians that cooked real authentic Haitian food. Listen.... Haitian cooking is serious. I would walk in the kitchen to the smell of fresh herbs, spices, limes, seasonings, and the Haitian radio station on blast. That station was her lifeline to what was going on in Haiti. 

She had one of those old school wooden pilon. A very simple kitchen tool. What I love most about her cooking was how she would turn the most simplest dish into a feast. There were times where we didn't have much to eat and that dish felt like I was at a food festival. LordT! 

If you haven't figured it out by now, food is one of my favorite things about the Caribbean. The aroma and flavor will be on your mind long after you've eaten your dish. You just can't wait to have it again. I have quite a few favs and I seriously can't choose just one, but Boulett would be at the top of the list. 

The only "lemons" Haitians acknowledge 

I too love the diversity and rich history of the Caribbean. The numerous contributions made from Caribbean-Americans played a major role in shaping America since its founding. From the War of Independence to Civil Rights Movement to Now. That is an achievement Caribbean-Americans can be very proud of. The many hardships we faced didn't stop us. We got right back up again and SLAYED. 

Did you know that there are over 7,000 individual islands in the Caribbean? The 3 most populous islands are Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti & Dominican Republic), and Jamaica.

 How do you say it? Ka-rih-BEE-uhn or Kuh-rib-ee-uhn

What part of the Caribbean are you from?


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