Guyana Recipe Book

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This is the recipe book that my grandmother brought with her from Guyana, along with nothing more than a suitcase with some clothes, and a large Guyanese pot, referred to as a “carahee.” 

This recipe book is indicative of the diversity of West Indian cuisine, which is a mixture of Indian, African, Portuguese, Chinese, British, and Amerinidian (the aboriginals of Guyana) cuisines. Among the many recipes for breakfast foods, salads, meats, seafood, and desserts in this book, there were several recipes that caught my eye.  Some of them were British recipes for “Fruit Cake” and “Royal Sponge Cake.” Fruit Cake is one of the many British desserts that have been slightly altered with a West Indian flare. It is often made around Christmas and for special events such as, weddings, and its preparation often begins months in advance. Fruits are usually gathered and soaked in wine for at least a month to soften the fruits and to sufficiently infuse them with alcohol.

Another popular dessert recipe in the book is for “Cassava Pone,” which is made from the prevalent Guyanese root vegetable, cassava. This particular dessert is made at any time of year. Additionally, a recipe in the book that is indicative of the diverse West Indian cuisine is the recipe for “Shepherd’s Head Broth.” This recipe was derived from Madras, India, currently known as Chennai, in the south of India. This soup uses ingredients, such as a sheep’s head, and is famous for its use as a hangover soup.  

Place(s): Guyana
Year: 1980

– Melissa Aziz

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant