Welcome

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, August 01, 2007

Eating too much conch?

My wife, a Bahamian, screamed with horror when she read in The Nation (see July 21 edition) a story about how Bajans are eating up all the conch on the island. As the report noted, it may be related to the popularity of the song by the same name by Li'l Rick, which is heard regularly during the Crop Over season. Anyway, the delicacy is apparently "moving quickly from the shelves". She shivered when she read about a "dish in a pickle form", and wondered what the people were doing that it "takes 45 minutes to clean [conch]". They should go to Nassau and get some training, she yelled. Truth is, we had discovered conch served on this island just a few weeks ago, in a cooked form. General verdict: tough, not very tasty; waste of a good conch.

In the Bahamas, people love conch! Fresh, uncooked conch is delicious when prepared in one of the traditional Bahamian ways. One favourite ("scored" or "scorched conch") has the conch meat scored with a knife, and lime (and sometimes orange) juice, onions, tomatoes, celery, sweet pepper, fresh hot pepper are sprinkled over the meat. "Conch salad" is similar, but the conch is diced. But there is also conch chowder; conch fritters (see picture, where it accompanied by the traditional dip); stewed conch; steamed conch; and conch pasta (which I personally have never had). Conch can also be deep-fried ("cracked conch", shown here with French fries). In Jamaica, we have also added curried conch (one of the many dishes at spots like Little Ochie).

Conch reputedly has amazing aphrodisiac properties. Now, why should that make it popular? But, now that this is out in the open so to speak, it could put a rush on ahead of the last days of Crop Over. Still much wuk fi do. But, while Bajans are wuking themselves up over conch, we have to say that they not eating the real t'ing, man.

The article mentions that the Barbados' Ministry of the Environment and UWI researchers are studying conch habitation areas. They better work fast as I fear that they molluscs may start crawling north to the colder waters of the Bahamas, where they know that they will be met with open mouths, if not open arms.

1 comment:

Yvette said...

Wow! Sounds like Therese's mom and aunts need to come visit and show them how to cook the conch! We miss you all. Fond memories of conch chowder and johnny cake by the fireside linger...