Jamaica – National Dish Option
Jamaica’s national dish (ackee and saltfish) was named in National Geographic’s top 10 national dishes. I eat ackee (not saltfish) occasionally now as an adult, having had to endure our national dish every Sunday morning as a child. My mother, like many Jamaicans, love ackee and saltfish but indulged too often for my liking.
I recently told a friend of mine about how impressed my mother would have been that Nat Geo had given her beloved national dish such an honor. Being the owner of a cook shop selling lunches in a small community, my friend was not pleased in anyway by this news. She began to explain how this move by Nat Geo just made things harder for her.
Her exact response was ‘but wat is not dis?’ (generally shock or disbelief). She could not believe this happened now that she was ready to move ahead with her drive to change the National dish to something that everyone ate everyday. She tells me how she has been to many other towns and communities and by mid day the smell of what should be the national dish fills the air. She went on to say how people posted pictures of it on facebook and apart from hundreds of likes, even get nostalgic homesick comments.
Her cook shop could be cleaned and closed in time for her to watch the 7 pm news every evening sure as fate she boasted. Nothing left over for rodents to come looking for or to be reheated and sold to the disgust of early customers. Every day my food ‘sell off’ she raved on, saying how everyday Jamaicans eat this every day, they only eat ackee once in a while when it’s available. And that is why it’s full time they changed the national dish. This was the foundation of her campaign and I found it somewhat amusing.
Personally I had to agree with her about the popularity contest. But let her know that me, and many non meat eaters might not be much help to her cause. I however reminded her that she could use the internet to help in her search for whom to speak to regarding her one woman campaign. Since waiting outside of her Member of Parliament’s office proved futile.
I honestly doubt she will get very far with her campaign, since the choice of a national dish is more than a popularity contest. And as much as Jamaicans love chicken, rice and peas, and a salad (raw vegetables or pasta), it stands no chance against the north Atlantic salted cod fish and the west African ackee combo.