This week we’re heading to Antigua and Barbuda… Finally, a journey to the Caribbean! I’ve been waiting for this day for quite a long time, my friends. It seemed as though the Caribbean would never get here! (PS, we’re still waiting on Central America, the European Union, the Middle East, North America, Oceania, and South America. Don’t worry, a lot of these are in the works).
Life in the Caribbean
The summer after my freshman year of college, I lived in the Caribbean for about a month. The experience was part of a “study away” program in Puerto Rico. While I was there I was able to take summer Spanish classes, volunteer at a children’s day camp, and generally explore the beautiful island! Living in the Caribbean, even for a short time, was absolutely amazing. I fell in love with the lifestyle there!
Everyone in the Caribbean was so relaxed, so “go with the flow.” The relaxed lifestyle of islanders is a welcome change of pace coming from a busy lifestyle in America. I’m telling you, the people in the Caribbean have life figured out. The opportunity to breathe, relax on the beach, eat great food, and experience what real, true life is like in the Caribbean is something I’ll never forget.
I love the flavors of Caribbean fruits– in Puerto Rico I tried to eat a mango every day– but I hadn’t eaten a papaya until this week. I loved it as I expected I would! As I was choosing my menu for Antigua and Barbuda week, I knew that I had to include the papaya pie; it is such a unique and delicious dish!
I can’t wait for you to read about the banana tree that showed up in my house and about my very first taste of a jalepeño. Antigua was an absolutely scrumptious country, and I hope you all try something from it. My personal recommendations would be the seafood salad and the papaya pie, but I think you’ll be happy with whatever you choose. Enjoy!
On the Menu
- Duncana (Sweet Potato Dumplings)
- Black Bean Cakes
- Seafood Salad
- Papaya Pie
Fun Facts about Antigua and Barbuda
- A famous pastime in Antigua and Barbuda is kiteboarding on Jobbawock Beach
- Multiple islands make up the country. Barbuda is about 30 miles north of Antigua
- Antigua is only 14 miles by 11 miles
- There is a mountain named Mount Obama (named in 2009)
- Oprah Winfrey has had a home here!
Influence on Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a Caribbean island to the east of Puerto Rico. A lot of the culinary influence has come from neighboring Caribbean countries like Jamaica and Trinidad.
Flavors of Antigua and Barbuda
Similar to Angola, a very popular dish in Antigua and Barbuda is funje. However, in Angola, the dish is made with cassava flour while in the Caribbean it is made from cornmeal. Pepperpot is the national dish. It is made by combining funje, salted cod or lobster, and rice together in a vegetable stew.
Seafood is, of course, an Antiguan staple. Lobster, scallops, mahi-mahi, snapper, etc. are all country favorites. Duncana— a sweet potato dumpling wrapped in banana leaves– often accompanies these fish dishes.
A trip to the Caribbean wouldn’t be complete without discussing alcohol! Rum is the alcoholic drink of choice on the islands, but when natives need a break from liquor, they enjoy fruit juices of all kinds.
Food Culture and Dining Styles of Antigua and Barbuda
Relaxation is the name of the game in the Caribbean, so there are very lackadaisical rules when it comes to food and dining culture in Antigua and Barbuda. Arrival times are merely a suggestion, and meals are long, social affairs. Sunday dinners sometimes occur very early– around 2:00– because most people take Sunday off of work.