Mortar and Pestle

A small West Indian nation in South America, Suriname was a plantation colony under Dutch rule. Being engrained in multiculturalism through the cultures of already present indigenous people, slaves brought in from Africa, and indentured laborers from India and Indonesia, Suriname flourishes with diversity. With roots from both enslaved Africans and indentured Indian workers, my family has lived in Suriname for many generations. When my parents decided to immigrate to the United States in the late 1980's, they were equipped with an arsenal of fluency in six languages, including English. Being a first generation America citizen, I did not know much about where my family came from or what our country was like. Despite learning each language my parents learned back home, language was not enough to teach me about a home I never knew I had. As I grew up, I noticed one defining factor that both the Afro and Indo-Caribbean sides of my family shared: food. Members of my family would take the time to hand grind popular West Indian spices in their mortar and pestles; one thing my parents and the rest of my immigrated family never left behind in Suriname was their passion for good quality, extremely flavorful traditional West Indian and Surinamese food. This mortar and pestle was brought over by family in Suriname when they immigrated, and through the passionate flavors it has helped to cultivate, it has shown me more of my homeland on a plate than I could've ever dreamed of.

Place(s): West Indies
Year: 1980

– Vandita

Relationship:  unknown unknown