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Cayman Islands - Cooking and Food[edit | edit source]

Overview of Caymanian Cuisine History[edit | edit source]

Cayman Islands are a group of islands situated in the Caribbean Sea just between Cuba and Honduras. After being colonized first by Jamaica then by British, Cayman Islands remained under British dependency since 1962. Traditional Cayman Islands cuisine is very tied to Jamaican cuisine and they also kept British influences in their cooking, but you can as well find a large variety of international dishes with a local twist. As for traditional dishes the main ingredients are coconut, plantain, cassava, yams, rice and peas. Jamaican cuisine enriched Cayman’s cuisine by offering a large variety of spices such as jerk, curry and other exotic seasonings. The humid soil provides a large variety of exotic fruits and vegetables such as yellow squash, avocados, callaloo (Caribbean spinach), cassava, calabash, spring onions, pineapples, tomatoes, peas, chili, peppers a great range of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, bananas and plantains, sweet potatoes, yams and mangoes.

Cuisines of Cayman Islands[edit | edit source]

Map of Cayman Islands- Click to enlarge

Cayman Islands cuisine is in a big proportion very similar to Jamaican cuisine and it also preserved specific British influences. Traditional dishes are frequently prepared with fish, seafood, vegetables and spices. Fish and seafood are the main ingredients for any Cayman dish; the most popular are Tuna, turtle, Snapper, mackerel and dolphin which are usually prepared with tomato, Onion and peppers. Cayman Islands are considered to be the homeland of the Conch and Strombus Gigas, a type of Conch, has been the staple dish foe ages. Conch is served marinated, in salads, in creamy chowders or in stews. People from Cayman Islands enjoy spicy dishes; a popular spicy sauce in Cayman Islands is chili sauce made of tomatoes, onions, vinegar and peppers. Fish is served for lunch or for dinner grilled, marinated, on salads, stewed and it is also served for breakfast with ackee which is an egg-shaped fruit whose taste is similar to scrambled eggs.

Preparation Methods for Caymanian Cooking[edit | edit source]

Because the fish is the main source of protein for most inhabitants, there are lots of preparation methods for it as well as for other dishes. Cayman Islands cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Cayman Islands cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Cayman Islands cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Cayman Islands is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Cayman Islands regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Cayman Islands dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes.

Special Equipment for Caymanian Cooking[edit | edit source]

To cook most dishes in Cayman Islands cuisine you don’t need any special equipment. Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers and portioners, food pans and food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets and accessories, the Cayman Islands cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Cayman’s dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Cayman Islands food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, and kitchen thermometers, measuring cups and measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers and strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".

Caymanian Food Traditions and Festivals[edit | edit source]

There are many festivals and traditions held in Cayman Islands. The national holidays include Constitution Day (July 7), New Year’s Day (January 1), National Heroes Day (January 23), Discovery Day (May 15), Queen’s Birthday (June 12), Remembrance Day (November 11),and Christmas Day (December 25). On national holidays people from Cayman Islands serve traditional dishes which mainly contain Conch, lobster and other local seafood combined with coconut, plantain, breadfruit, yams, cassava, rice and peas cooked in a variety of ways. A delicious dish served on national holidays and in other special occasions is Chicken Salad and Spicy Peanut Dressing and as for dessert Tortugas Rum.

People in Caymanian Food[edit | edit source]

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In Cayman Islands are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Cayman’s dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Cayman Islands chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Cayman Islands chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.

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