Last week, I visited family back in Minnesota, and it was bliss. Between being with my people, escaping the desert heat, relaxing up north, and celebrating the marriages of two special couples, my time was memorable and fun. My time away, however, did not stop this project. My father, an idea man, thought it would be fun to bring an international cuisine meal to our cabin on Howard Lake. (I concurred.) Along with my parents, two of my three sisters, and Aunt Patty & Uncle Dan, we ventured into the cuisine of the Caribbean.
Truth: this is not the meal that was recommended to properly represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines. From the information I had found, Jack fish and bread fruit would be most appropriate. Before I left for the trip, I asked my mother to find the ingredients in Minnesota. She spent a good afternoon chasing an elusive fruit, but with no reward – bread fruit is near impossible to find here. I later learned it’s the next “superfood” and is believed to be the answer to the food crisis in various places of the world.
Jack fish, on the other hand, was found but not purchased. This was an expensive fish, and we needed a lot of fish to serve our whole party. Marlin was the recommended substitute (no complaints here).
This was a memorable international meal. Sharing the process – tracking down strange foods (with or without success), cooking new ingredients, creating a festive table, and experiencing unique flavors – with my family meant so much to me, and I wish it could happen more often. I think the Quick Quotes from everyone really capture the meal. Check it out!
Ed, Dad: “Making it was so fun (even while getting smoked in cribbage by Maggie).”
Rachel, Sister: “Yum! I loved the flavor combos and the great company.”
Maggie, Sister: “Loved it all – sauce on the fish was especially good. Also beating Dad at cribbage.”
Patty, Aunt: “Overall delish meal! Enjoyed coconut milk in rice and sauce with fish.”
Dan, Uncle: “Marlin with red sauce was tangy and exceptional – Rum drink topped it off.”
Julie, Mom: “Making the meal was a joint effort and so much fun! Enjoyed all the flavors – especially coconut milk in rice, and sauce on fish.”
Teresa, Me: “My disappointment in not getting original ingredients was redeemed with this meal. Great combination of flavors and ingredients.”
Fish & Fish Sauce
- Marlin, seasoned with lime juice, fresh thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder
- Sauce: fresh tomatoes cooked with thyme, garlic, oil, butter, tomato paste, and water
Spicy Coconut Rice & Beans
- canola oil
- garlic cloves
- onion, diced
- creole spice
- long grain rice
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- coconut milk
- red kidney beans
- 2 small bay leaves
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- chicken broth or water
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (we used a jalapeño)
- paprika (optional)
- Apple juice + rum with a sprinkling of nutmeg
- The capital of St. Vincent (the main island) and the Grenadines (a group of small islands) is Kingstown
- The official language is English
- La Soufrière is an active volcano on the island of St. Vincent, and is one of the largest in the world. It last erupted in 1979 (no casualties due to advanced warnings)
- St. Vincent gained independence from the United Kingdom on October 27, 1979