The world knows them as Caribs, but as we’ve shown previously, many don’t really know much about the Amerindian people for whom our home region is named. From my limited exposure to them after just one full day here in Dominica I can tell you that Carib is not the preferred nomenclature they choose for themselves – who can blame them after colonial European powers branded “Caribs” as cannibals to justify the evils of their conquests.
No, in their own eyes, the namesake Caribbean people are the Kalinago, a word from their own ancient language that has always been their real name anyway.
Even with just a couple of quick stops while driving through Kalinago Territory you can tell that these are a very unique and proud people. They’re still somewhat detached from the regular everyday society in Dominica, but their influence is seen and felt in many ways across the island… even here at Rosalie Bay, the island’s most upscale resort.
That’s where I enjoyed Cassava Porridge, a staple breakfast food of the Kalinago for centuries.
As you might imagine, this is not the ordinary porridge of Charles Dickens fame, or the gruel slopped disdainfully in every jailhouse and high school portrayed in popular cinema… This stuff is actually good!
Cassava Porridge is made from cassava fiber, also known as Farine, which is first boiled, then combined with milk to achieve the right consistency. Sprinkle in a bit of cinnamon and/or ginger on top, and you have a wonderfully power-packed meal sure to get you through whatever might come your way during the day. In Dominica, with its endless hiking trails, nine volcanoes, and 365 rivers all waiting for you to explore, that’s no small feat for any meal to achieve. With all the adventuring I did today, though, I can vouch for this stuff – it works!
It’s believed that the Kalinago people were the first to bring cassava to the Caribbean when they migrated to the region from South America, where the plant has its origins. How they ever determined that the root of the cassava bush would be a good thing to eat, though, is well beyond me.
You see, cassava is one of those wonderful things we love to eat that if prepared improperly or eaten raw, can actually kill you.
Done right, though, as they definitely do it here at Rosalie Bay, cassava is yummy and a pretty decent source of protein, rich in calcium and vitamin C, all good things to keep you going here in Dominica, or anywhere else your uncommon travels might take you.