Earlier this summer, we were at London’s Trader’s Vic to celebrate the launch of a pop up menu with foodie, Vanessa Bolosier.
Since then, we got our hands on her cookbook, Creole Kitchen. Sunshine Flavours from the Caribbean and tried out some of her yummy recipes.
This cookbook begins with a personal history from Vanessa, sharing family photos and memories around the kitchen. If food is an expression of culture, the kitchen is a classroom where history and tradition is passed down from one generation to another.
Vanessa shares that her father was her food mentor; even though “Caribbean men don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen,” hers did. She describes him as “a feminist,” adding that “memories of [him] remain alive in my cooking.”
Vanessa then takes us on a tour of the islands, particularly focusing on Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is not hard to see traces of a past steeped in French influences in Vanessa’s recipes. But of course there are also African fusions marinated in these dishes.
The culinary traditions of Africa, as well as African flora and fauna, arrived in the Caribbean as unintended consequences of the Atlantic slave trade…I take pride…my African ancestors.
Creole Kitchen contains not only a range of recipes but beautiful images of each dish and of the people who add flavour to them. We found ourselves “Africanising” a few of the dishes by using similar ingredients that were local to us.
If you’re looking for a few new recipes to take into the new season, Creole Kitchen is a good place to start.
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