It’s always a good day when you can cross something off your bucket list, and last Wednesday, I got to check off, “learn to make sheep tongue souse.”
Souse (rhymes with house) is essentially meat cooked in a clear broth, flavoured with onion, lime juice, all spice, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Though “souse” as a pickling/preservation method dates back to medieval times, the souse we know in the Bahamas and Caribbean originated during the era of slavery.
One of my goals over the past few years has been learning to prepare more traditional Bahamian dishes. So I was excited to learn that my cousins, Marguerite Sawyer Mendelson, and her daughter, Marie Sawyer Ochs, were penning a new Bahamian cookbook.
Marguerite Sawyer Mendelson, Me, Marie Sawyer Ochs
Back in the 1970s, Marguerite and her friend, Marie Mendelson, wrote Gourmet Bahamian Cooking, which soon became – and has remained – the best-selling Bahamian cookbook to date.
In recent years, Marguerite and her daughter Marie have developed many new recipes and made over some Bahamian classics, utilizing healthier cooking methods and ingredients – baking instead of frying, choosing brown rice and whole-wheat flour and pasta, and using low-fat and low-sodium ingredients that simply weren’t available to previous generations of Bahamian cooks. They’ve gathered their very favourite dishes in a new recipe book, entitled Healthier Bahamian Cuisine.
In addition to traditional island fare such as conch fritters, chicken souse, peas ‘n rice, baked macaroni and cheese, stewed conch and johnny cake, Healthier Bahamian Cuisine includes many new favourites, like conch tacos, Abaco jambalaya, spicy coconut chicken, pork chops with guava jam, brown rice salad and mandarin orange cake.
Though not all the recipes are low-cal, this book will definitely get you thinking about how many Bahamian dishes — which, let’s face it, aren’t exactly known for being waistline-friendly! — can be adapted to support a healthier lifestyle.
To order Healthier Bahamian Cuisine, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Marguerite’s booth at the upcoming Island Roots Heritage Festival, May 2-4 in Green Turtle Cay. Book price is $21, plus postage, if applicable.