Today marks the beginning of the 12th year of this column, Tastes Like Home. As we begin the New Year, if it is one thing you should know by now is that I do not make New Year resolutions, particularly resolutions associated with food. I believe that people should eat everything, in moderation. At this time of the year, most people resolve to go on some fad diet or to detox – all short-term dietary solutions that are impracticable, ineffective, and in many cases end up doing more harm than good. If you are determined to have a food resolution, here is my suggestion – resolve to eat Guyana and if you are like me and you already eat Guyana, then eat more of Guyana. Here’s how.
One of the best Guyanese breakfasts to have is Sada roti with sautéed vegetables. You can go for white or brown Sada roti with a mound of fried pumpkin, callaloo, squash, baigan/eggplant, karaila, bora, etc. Not only is this a healthy breakfast, it is also filling and will provide the energy you need to work for long hours. Actually this combo of sada roti and fried vegetables works well for dinner too.
For lunch, switch out the roti for rice and add some protein to balance the major meal.
We are blessed with a wide and envious variety of fresh local seafood available in Guyana, eat it – baked, grilled, roasted, pan-seared, sautéed, curried, stewed, fried or steamed.
Even as supermarkets and megastores go up, do not neglect the choice to get your food directly from the source, shop at the fresh markets for meat, vegetables, ground provisions, and fruits. Do not take for granted what many the world over would love the opportunity to do – buy fresh food, daily.
Guyanese cuisine boasts of excellent soups so mix things up with the rice and roti, some days you can have cowheel soup, chicken soup, tripe soup, beef soup or vegetable soup. Don’t forget that there is dry food and Mettagee too.
Up the fruit intake by making fruit juices and drinks as each fruit comes into season. Some of us only have a handful of different fruits available in a year; in Guyana, there is a staggering variety of fruits that go far beyond bananas, mangoes and oranges.
I beg of you, please eat and buy only locally made plantain chips. It is ridiculous, yes, I said it, ridiculous to see people in Guyana loading up on Soldanza and other imported brands of plantain chips when they can support locally made plantains chips; or make your own if you have the time.
Shop Guyana Marketing Corporation’s Guyana Shop at the corner of Robb Street, close to Bourda market. Actually, buy locally made food products wherever they are sold. Whenever I am in Guyana, I always try to visit the Guyana Shop, there I am able to pick up cocoa sticks, salt fish, smoked fish, dried shrimps, various porridge mixes and I am always finding lots of goodies like locally made cashew nut butter from the Rupunni.
Drink bush tea; rather than having some company from a faraway land package the same herbal teas and sell to you in a pretty box or bag; pick the lemongrass, bay leaf, etc fresh, and make tea. It is more potent that anything coming out of a package.
A lot of food resolutions will involve eating more fruits, vegetables and fish, staying away from meat or cutting down on the intake, well my friends, you do not have to look far for things to eat and drink. Guyana is blessed with an astounding variety of many foods. And with the varied cuisine, not only is there much to choose from but one can easily follow a vegetarian or pescatarian diet, if that is your thing.
Finally, appreciate the pleasure and experience of eating foods picked fresh, plucked fresh, butchered fresh, juiced fresh, ground fresh and made fresh, daily. There is so much food that one can ever really get tired. There is something for everyone, each day of the week and more.
Resolve to eat Guyana!
Happy New Year!