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5 forgotten Antillean eating habits

5 (almost) forgotten Antillean eating habits

door Linda Terrizzi

We debated for a long time whether we should include the recipe for 'sanger' (blood) on our website. In the end, due to food safety, we decided to omit it. Yes, it is heritage, but no – it is really no longer possible. And then the practical side: where can you pop in for a liter of goat's blood these days?

Hence this article. Here we list a number of (almost!) Lost eating habits from the Antilles that we would like to hand over to our children, but would rather not see them again during the Christmas dinner.

1. Pia Stinkic

It already sounds dubious: something that translates as 'stink foot' must be a very special dish. And it is… in the past, when people didn't have a refrigerator (and when it was always 30 degrees in the Antilles after all!) there were only a limited number of ways to store food. Meat could be dried or salted, but that was about it.

When goats were slaughtered, the more perishable parts of the animal were always taken care of first; namely the intestines. The hind leg was a part that was saved 'for later'. The legs were wrapped in cloth and buried in a shallow hole in the garden. Preferably in full sun. After about a week, the leg was dug up. It is clear that the smell of the paw was not so pleasant anymore. Hence the name 'pia stinki'.

2. Singer

Waste not, because not – it is very economical to use every part of a slaughtered animal, which is why even the blood was processed into a dish. Where in Europe people preferred black pudding or 'black pudding', in the Antilles they made a dish with the telling name 'sanger' (blood).

The goats' blood was placed in a pan along with the liver and kidneys and seasoned with vegetables and spices. This mass was heated and stirred until the blood coagulated. The pudding that resulted was apparently a delicacy.

3. Funchi ku flor

tayó

Not so much an unsavory thought as an act of pure despair. The poorest people Curaçao used to be able to afford little else than a bag of cornmeal. They made this of course funchi – nutritious and filling, but lacking in flavor and vitamins.

There were many enamel signs in circulation at the time. Probably a legacy of the Dutch settlers. A flower was usually painted on the enamel. Parents told the children that they first had to 'dip' the pieces of (dry) funchi in flour, in order to absorb the taste and vitamins. A white lie, shall we say.

4. Sòpi Yuana

Absolutely no forgotten eating habit! The soup made from iguanas can still be bought in the Antilles. It has now become a dubious dish, because the iguanas are no longer that many. It is even said that certain species are threatened with extinction.

Traditionally, the critters in the forest are caught by children. They then sell these along the road to earn some extra pocket money. Yet you can also find this special soup in renowned restaurants on the islands. According to some, the flesh of the iguanas is a remedy for all kinds of ailments.

And, as you might expect when it comes to 'special' types of meat: it tastes a bit like chicken.

5. Sòpi di piedra

koraal

Making soup was also an expensive activity. Before the arrival of the stock cubes, people really had to make their own mixture of vegetables and meat in order to flavor the soup water. And let's not forget the (then precious) salt! Soon people realized that this salty taste could also be obtained by cooking stones that lay along the beach.

This led to a real discussion among the very poorest on the islands about 'what kind of stone was the tastiest'. Some thought that bits of coral imparted the most flavour, others saw more in 'real stones'; round, with the largest possible surface. That way a pan of water with (again!) pieces could funchi to be transformed into something tasteful. It was, say, a very cheap alternative to seafood soup.


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