Caribbean Food, West Indian Food and Island food are names which are all used interchangeable. Caribbean Food is the name used to describe the food from the islands in the Caribbean. In our experience, the name Caribbean food is generally use by people who are not from the Caribbean and trying to remember or describe a particular dish or dishes. Take for example: Roti, a food mostly cook in Trinidad & Guyana, while flying fish is known in Barbados, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) is known to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic and Jerk Chicken and Curry Goat are known to Jamaica. Together, all these dishes are Caribbean food. During cooking, Caribbean food comes alive because of all the natural spices in which these tropical islands are known for.
We believe the biggest misconception about Caribbean food is that it’s all spicy / hot. Caribbean food should be cooked based on who you are cooking for. While the food from the islands has developed a reputation that it must be spicy to be authentic, that is so far from the truth. Let’s face it, as children when our granny, aunt and mother finish cooking, we did not need a glass of water in one hand while eating with the fork in the other hand. But no one could question our Granny that the food was not authentic. After all, she was born in Jamaica in 1903 and learned to cook from her mother who was born in 1875. As far as we are concern, it does not get any more authentic than that. Sure they cook with pepper to get the flavor but the pepper was removed at a certain point.
Furthermore, in many Caribbean households, the adults usually eat their meals with pepper on the side and add the pepper as needed. I can go a step further and say, many Caribbean people make homemade pepper sauce and use as hot sauce. We can recall our uncle sitting down eating and chewing a scotch bonnet pepper as if he was eating a