Food in Daily Life. Staples such as bread, rice and peas, fruits, and vegetables figure prominently in the diet. Cocoa tea made from local cocoa and spices is a popular breakfast drink. Lunch is usually a heavier meal that may include salted cod in a “bake,” which is fried bread about the size and shape of a hamburger bun. Fish is plentiful and affordable, as is chicken. Beef is scarce. Pork is reserved for special occasions such as Christmas, while goat and lamb are eaten commonly. Dishes are seasoned heavily with local spices. The national dish, “oil down,” is a stew-like concoction made in large quantities with local vegetables such as callalou, dasheen, breadfruit, green fig (banana), and plantain. Pig snout, pig tail, salt mackerel, crab, and chicken neck and back are popular additions. The boullion is a mixture of coconut milk, saffron, water, and seasonings.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Meals are social occasions, and holidays such as Christmas are spent visiting family, friends, and neighbors, with small meals eaten at each stop. Beef, spice cakes, and guava cheese are popular fare. Foods such as ham are expensive and often reserved for just the very important holidays, such as Christmas. Boudin, or blood sausage, is also a holiday favorite, along with a sweet ground cornmeal cake, which is cooked in the wrapped leaves of the banana tree and served tied with a string like a little gastronomic gift (blue drawz in Jamaica). A shot of local rum or creamy rum grog is a traditional accompaniment.
Oil down – National Dish of Grenada
Grenada’s national dish is called “Oil down“. It is a simple, delicious and robust dish, which is very popular in local restaurants. It’s a hearty onepot meal of salted meat, chicken, dumplings, breadfruit, callaloo – made from young dasheen leaves and other vegetables. The whole thing is stewed in coconut milk, herbs and spices to add even more flavour.
8-10 young dasheen
1 sprig celery, chive and thyme
2 medium carrots chopped
2 green peppers chopped
1 lb dumplings
2 tps tumeric (saffon)
1/2 lb Salt meat (pre-soaked overnight)
1 large Breadfruit peeled
2 cups coconut milk
1 medium onion chopped
- Wash and peel breadfruit. Cut into 8 sections. Remove centre lengthways of each section and cut into half crosswise.
- Wash and scrape meat, cut into pieces and rinse in lime juice and water.
- Remove skins of onions, rinse and cut into small pieces. Remove seeds of chilli peppers and cut into wedges. Chop chives into small pieces.
- Put salted meat into cold water, bring to the boil and drain. Repeat 3 times to remove preserving saly. Put to cook until just tender and drain.
- Saute onions and garlic in hot oil until onions are pale yellow.
- Add chive, thyme, flavouring pepper, salted meat and salt to taste. Pour over 2 cups of coconut milk.
- Add wedges of breadfruit, sugar, green hot pepper and cook until breadfruit absorbs liquid.
- Add remaining coconut milk. Remove hot pepper. Stir to blend well and cook at a reduced heat. There should be no remaining liquid.
- Serve hot.
Try your hand at the national dish.