Around the World in 12 Dishes: Jamaica

Congratulations to Natalie from Afterschool for Smarty Pants on winning my latest giveaway!

Today we are "traveling" to Jamaica with Around the World with 12 Dishes. As usual we have been exploring Jamaica with stories, books, music and food. We will be spending a little extra time in Jamaica since we are joining a wonderful group of Multicultural Kid Blogs to present Christmas in Different Lands and have chosen Christmas in Jamaica which we will post about on December 23rd! I hope you will come back to learn more about Christmas in Jamaica and a huge thank you to Sherika from Saturday Market in Jamaica who is helping me with my research and giving me some recipes to present this to you!!

Jamaica CIA map
Source: By Directorate of Intelligence, CIA [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Jamaica is an island country in the Caribbean Sea. Christopher Columbus claimed it for the Spanish in 1494. When he arrived in Jamaica there was more than 200 villages of indigenous people living there. The indigenous people are the Taino and the Arawak.  The Taino still inhabited the island when the British took command in 1655.When the British took over, the Spanish colonists freed their slaves and left. The slaves joined the Taino in the mountains. The group was called the Maroons and they fought the British throughout the 18th century. Under British rule Jamaica became the world's largest sugar exporter as well as the largest slave-dependent country. After the abolition of slavery, the British brought in Indian and Chinese indentured servants to do the work. Their descendents still live there.
Doll my grandparents brought me from their trip to Jamaica

In the beginning of the 19th century the ratio of black people to white people in Jamaica was 20 to 1. Jamaica gained its independence in 1962. It is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the ruling monarch and head of state. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, currently Sir Patrick Allen.

The climate in Jamaica is tropical. The official language is English. However Jamaicans speak an English-African Creole language known as Jamaican Patois. Reggae music originated in Jamaica along with some other types. Reggae music helped spread knowledge of Jamaican Patois.
A bowl of our sweet potato pone

Ok, now onto our recipe. We made Sweet Potato Pone. The book, Cooking the Caribbean Way by Cheryl Davidson Kaufman said it was a popular dish for Christmas morning, but all the references I have seen on-line say it is a favorite dessert. I, of course, returned the book  by mistake before making it, so we used a recipe I found on-line at Real Jamaican Vacations.

Sweet Potato Pone
1 lb sweet potato, grated (this is about one large sweet potato)
1 cup flour (we used gluten-free)
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups coconut milk (we used canned)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup grated coconut
1 cup raisins
2 tbsp margarine

Combine sweet potato with milk, sugar, flour and spices. Mix well. Add raisins, coconut and margarine. Mix thoroughly and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar to taste. Pour into a greased baking pan and bake at 370F for approximately 1 hour, or until center is set.It took 70 minutes for us.

At first we tried shredding our sweet potato. However after we mixed it all together, I realized it need to be finer. At this point Hazel had lost interest (well more like lost energy due to being sick), so I put it back in the food processor all mixed together and got it more grated instead of shredded. This seemed to do the trick. Hazel helped peel the sweet potato and shred it. Then she helped measure (including packing the brown sugar down) and stir it all together. We had to pretend we worked in a restaurant which apparently needs new employees since she kept going off to talk to the ones not doing their jobs. Oh, the imagination of an almost five-year-old. Hazel said she liked the pone, but did not eat much of it. Of course she didn't eat much of anything that day since she was sick. Steve and I both liked it a lot.

Here are the books we used to look at recipes, crafts and more.

Then we enjoyed stories from these books. Hazel especially liked the Anansi stories. It is funny the difference a year makes. She did not like the Annasi stories when we read some of them from Africa.

Finally we found some Jamaican music to enjoy on these CD's. Much of the music is reggae or calypso, but it is fun music!

For some more Jamaican recipes stop by on December 23rd and check out these great posts. If you have a Jamaican recipe to share, please link it up. Also you can get the Jamaican passport pages and placemat. Plus join us next month as we "travel" to Peru!

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