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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The proof of the pudding

It was only a matter of time before I had to give my readers food for thought on the vexing issue of Barbados' favorite dish, pudding and souse. I had first come across eastern Caribbean souse as a boy, when an aunt of mine married a Grenadian. I disliked it because I really have no stomach for pig's trotters, ears, tongue, or other parts like that. I like my pork plain and lean. Chops, loin, roasted leg, all fine, even delicious. When the subject of eating pudding and souse came up with some Bajans a few days ago, I was glad to bad mouth this "dish". In fact, I dished up some serious bad mouthing. But over the weekend, I ended up somewhere with these same people, who introduce me to what I have to believe is gourmet pudding and souse. Now? I am eating some very sweet humble pie. This thing is GOOD, GOOD, GOOD! The secret to this change of heart? Leave out the "features".

Let me back up, because pudding and souse needs some explanation. The traditional recipe goes something like this (see Government of Barbados recipe). The pudding is made from the intestines of the pig which are stuffed with highly seasoned sweet potato. The souse is boiled pig's head or feet served with a cold pickle of onion, cucumbers, limes, parsley and hot and sweet peppers. And that is the souse I knew. Now, head (and its parts) and feet are called "features". They are mainly gelatenous when cooked and when served cold fall fast to the bottom of my list of favourite food. The traditional "blood" pudding is no longer often made with intestines, but just with the sweet potato, steamed and served as a solid ball. So, feature-less souse, using well cooked and pickled pork loin, plus sweet potato pudding is the dish that I had set in front of me around late morning last Saturday.

So, truth is, when I hear Bajans start to talk excitedly about the Friday-Saturday ritual of eating pudding and souse, I am going to pay good attention to find out where they think are the best places. I have already learned that pudding and souse heated in a frying pan the next day, with a little oil and the pudding sliced so that it crisps on the outside is a great Sunday morning breakfast! Am I being brain washed?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Try Lemon Arbour in St. Joseph up towards Ashbury Plantation. No trotters in their souse and a fantastic lime for a Saturday. Personally, I'm not a big souse man but their barbeque pork is among the best in the world. Getting a little bit over-busy these days but a better multi-racial (yup, that's everyone mixing in one place, amazing but true) chance to drink rum has yet to be found. Great views over cane fields. Magic.

Dennis Jones said...

Anonymous, it's Lemon Arbor I was referring to and agree with all the comments.

Dennis Jones said...

For those trying to find Lemon Arbor, it is actually in St. John, not frar from Four Roads.

susan said...

I remember Souse with a passion from when I was a little boy in the late 60's early 70's. It was a must at every party we attended. We Loocian (St Lucians) loved it

Denise said...

Was in Barbados last month and hired a car for the express purpose of getting to Lemon Arbor on Saturday morning for my pudding and souse. Well worth the trip; the view was gorgeous, the souse even better. My goodness I'm drooling just thinking about it.