The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY -- FOOD BYTES
Sunday, Sept. 6, 1998
Hankering for callaloo or curried goat?
Click and enjoy
By Zena Bingham
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
In the summer, the Caribbean seems awfully close to these Northern latitudes. And just now the flavors of the West Indies -- a medley of fruits, spices, grains, roots and tubers -- are much in the air. If the motto "When in the tropics, cook like the tropics" appeals to you, help is at hand on the Internet.
An extremely well stocked site is Recipes From Guyana and the Caribbean, run by Wayne Moses of Guyana (http://www3.nbnet.nb.ca/wmoses/recipes.html)(1). He offers recipes for island classics like callaloo jumble (salt fish, bacon, beef or pork, shrimp, the spinachlike callaloo and a few other good things, all served on rice), mango fly (a drink), banana fritters, and curried hassars g la Courantyne, which calls for four wirri-wirri peppers.
Moses thoughtfully supplies a great deal of necessary information: Just click on Frequently Asked Questions. You can learn there that a hassar is a black catfish about 6 to -8 inches long with a tough shell, and that wirri-wirri peppers are edible cherry bombs, like habaneros but less incendiary.
Spiciness is a fact of Caribbean cookery, with its curried dishes and the omnipresent habanero, or Scotch bonnet, the world's hottest pepper, which is native to the region. But why do hot countries favor hot foods! The most widely accepted answer is that they set off the body's own refrigeration system: A curry legendarily isn't hot enough until it makes you break out in a cold sweat.
Another site, West Indian Recipes (http://www.chrisevelyn.com/WIrecipes.htm), is part of the unofficial Internet voice of St. Kitts and Nevis and was founded last year by Christopher Evelyn. The recipes section has a grilled jerk chicken that calls for 10 pureed Scotch bonnets (serves four); curried goat, but also a vegetarian curry; banana bread; and black cake, a Christmas specialty, made with a cup of rum. ("For best results," the directions say, "let the cake remain in the pan while you are sprinkling it with rum for three days.")
Windows on Haiti (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pointe /5200), run by Guy Antoine, is the hub of an online Haitian cultural center, with pages on art, books and songs of Haiti. Click on recipes for dishes like Ti-Malice sauce, a hot sauce that accompanies many Haitian fish and meat dishes, and pain patate, a potato bread made from sweet potatoes. There are also chicken with peas, (poulet pois France), and beans' and rice, both staples of the Haitian diet.
The recipes on these sites come from many experienced cooks, who are by and large not professional cookbook writers. They usually assume that anyone who will cook from their recipes knows in advance what the dishes are. Some of the directions can be; sketchy or might reflect the conditions of island life. For instance, a recipe might ask you to grate a coconut for coconut milk, instead of suggesting you buy a can.
[Actual newspaper clipping]
(1) Since this review was written, the URL has changed to http://guyanaoutpost.com/recipes/recipes/shtml