This week we congratulate the person or people behind the idea that the choice of food and drinks being sold at the National Stadium during the international Test cricket will be based on local cuisine. The Grenadian Voice says that’s the right thing to do in the promotion of our island. It’s time that local things are blended in to become the norm. Let’s change the idea and habit of making small packages of our food, drinks, music and even news as we have noticed in some electronic media where sometimes the regional segment is longer than the local. The point we are making here is Grenada be Grenadian at all times, not just on special occasions.
It is our hope that the person who was making the announcement on the radio Wednesday morning, was not poking fun when he said “so people will be getting fig and saltfish” at the stadium. We are aware that is now a popular demand. Truth be told, poverty was unfortunately associated with a lot of local things and that has found a place in our culture dominating some of our choices. However, as we promote local let’s do it with respect and pleasure in a bid to get a buy – in from the young people. In selecting the local foods and drinks, the Food and Nutrition Council (GFNC) which is an authority on the issue of eating healthy should be on board. Through the years, the GFNC has published recipes which are made of things grown right here in Grenada. Maybe we should start adding them to the traditional “fig and saltfish”. As a public service this week we bring you a list of local snacks that Grenadians need to make more of -Breadfruit cheese balls, Breadfruit Buns, Guava milk shake, Sweet potato Bread, Banana Chips, Corn Bread, Cornmeal Cookies, Coconut Biscuits, Carrot Buns, Coconut Buns, Callaloo Balls, Pumpkin Cookies, Paw Paw Fritters, Pumpkin Tarts, Plantain Tarts, Banana Bread and cake, French Cashew Drink, Tamarind Drink, Carrot Drink and Mango Ade. For those of you who had been reading our weekly publications we hope you have found some interest in our local recipe page.
Agriculture Minister Peter David used the phrase Eat what we grow and grow what we eat as he addressed farmers on Wednesday of this week at the Deluxe cinema in Grenville. Did you know that that statement dates back to before he was born? Research has shown that it was part of a drive in some Caribbean islands to create interest in local foods. In Trinidad and Tobago, it was during Dr Eric Williams’ period as Prime Minister that he even used the calypsonians to drive the point home. Some people may remember the song ‘Doctor say to buy local.’ Our point here is that sometimes to effect change, we need the political will of the politicians. Interestingly, Minister David made reference to sweet potato leaves being edible. This, he said, he learnt from the Chinese farm workers presently on our island. Dr Guido Marcelle who helped to author a book on local herbs can teach us much more. Sorrel leaves and the seeds can be used to make drinks; pumpkin leaves are also edible and the list of breaking away from the regular things we eat can go on. How many of us use breadnuts as a tasty filling for stuffed chicken?
It is a known fact that human beings adapt quickly to suit the environment. Case in point is how we quickly went back to consuming more fresh fruits, vegetables and ground provision when the COVID-19 came to our shores. To boost our immune system when the death toll kept rising, we all made a great effort to eat what we grow. Some people even embarked on making their own gardens. Here we must again thank the Ministry of Agriculture for the back yard garden programme where people got assistance with tools and plants. This was certainly a great venture. But now that the Croton insects are around, more serious help is needed. The insects are even affecting pumpkin vines, causing the flowers to drop too early. Sadly, with no flowers there will be no pumpkins.
As we follow world news we are observing how the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine are negatively affecting economies and importation of food and other items. This can result in some foods being scarce. As Grenadians we may have to come up with innovations to feed ourselves and our children. So the ‘Grow what we eat and eat what we grow’ slogan may be ever so applicable as we strive to stay alive.