A few years ago, while I was working in Kuwait around December 2016, I had an intense craving for Johnnycakes & Saltfish. On my island, we call them Johnnycakes, but other islands call them Floats, Bakes, or Fried Dumplings. They can be served alone or on the side of fish, meat, soups, or vegetarian dishes. I will start by saying that Johnnycake & Saltfish is one of my favorite Caribbean dishes after Roti. I grew up in the Lesser Antilles on a lesser-known island that does not truly ring a bell in the minds of many foreigners unless they knew someone from my island or took a cruise to that part of the Caribbean. We are a unique little federation, but we don’t get many accolades like Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti or the Dominican Republic. We are very small; in fact, we have just about 50,000 people living on a teeny volcanic rock. We have a lot of British influence followed by a hint of French and a thimble size pinch of Spanish. When it comes to food, we cook a little bit of each of the most popular Caribbean dishes, but we call them by different names. Our most popular local dishes are Goat Water, Cook-Up, and Conch Water.
I think by now readers get the point when it comes to soups or stews, we call it water. Something we inherited from the British is Chicken & Chips; while occasionally we might have local fish with chips, the most popular junk food is Chicken & Chips. Then within the genres of popular Caribbean dishes we have Johnnycake & Saltfish, Saltfish Stew, (Chicken, Mutton, Beef) Roti, Coconut Johnnycake, Fish Soup, Conkie which is a grated coconut and sweet potato treat sometimes called Ducana, Sugar Cake, Curry Chicken, Blood Pudding, Curry Goat, Coconut Fudge, Potato Pudding, Coconut Tarts, Rum Cake, Saltfish Fritters, Fried Plantain, Saltfish patties, Beef patties, and the list goes on.
Back to the Johnnycake and Saltfish story, I got a craving for this dish back in 2016 and decided to try my hand at making it. It was to my delight to run into 2 awesomely talented YouTubers who are both from Trinidad and Tobago. While I know there are many more Caribbean Foodies out there, these two were the first channels I ran into who made it look easy and who helped me to deliver a mouth-watering final product. Ever since then, I have been watching Trini Cooking with Natasha and Taste of Trini.
Trini Cooking with Natasha
I have been watching Natasha’s videos since 2016, and I am always interested in what she has to say, especially when she drops a video detailing how to make a Caribbean dish. She doesn’t stick to only Caribbean food as her cooking style is multicultural. The one thing I appreciate is the time and effort she puts into her food, and her willingness to share the knowledge that was passed down to her from family and friends. It means a lot, especially for me because I wasn’t as privileged so my family didn’t pass down many traditional dishes after my great grandmother passed away.
Check out Trini Cooking with Natasha’s video on how to make Fried Bake – Floats
Taste of Trini
The Taste of Trini channel also provided the comfort of learning Caribbean dishes I had never dared to try before. The owner of this channel Reshmi also brings forward the idea of passing on recipes and honoring her ancestors by preserving traditions. This is perhaps the one thing I love about Taste of Trini; it’s helping me to get acquainted with more dishes from various parts of the Caribbean. Thanks to Reshmi I am now diversifying my palette and learning about other Caribbean cultural foods and enjoying them.
Check out Taste of Trini’s YouTube Channel and find her at Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TasteofTrini Blog: https://alilspoonfuloftrinidadinnewyork.wordpress.com
These two blogger/vloggers have single-handedly made me want to cook more Caribbean based dishes and explore more complicated one. They have gotten me excited about cooking more of these dishes and made me aware of how unique and diverse food from this region can be.