Who was this lovely gentleman, you may ask? Errol Barrow was the founding father of Barbados, so why not celebrate his birthday – any excuse for a good, family BBQ Bajan-style! Unfortunately, the UN only gets a certain number of holidays so we had a rainy half-day of work, but as soon as 1pm rolled around, my roommate Melissa and I hopped on a bus to the West Coast, to Roadview, St. Peter, to enjoy the rest of the beautiful day with our friend Sam’s family. With juice and chocolate in tow, we had no idea the home cooking that was awaiting us. Sam had mentioned something about roasting breadfruit and fish, but the wood slotted oven built from sliced scraps would have made any caveman proud! The gist of it is that you build up the oven around the breadfruit, set the thing on fire, and wait for it to fall apart into ashes. Then the veggies are ready. And somewhere in there, you throw in some aluminum-wrapped sweet potato, a whole coconut and seasoned whole fish. While we watched it all be built up and fall apart, we sampled some fresh fried flying fish (tongue twister!) and bonita fish. Yum!
But the best was yet to come. Caveman’s ingenious bonfire yielded amazing roasted breadfruit – which reminded Melissa and I of ugali but better, with a dip of ketchup, pepper sauce and butter. How can you go wrong! And the roasted coconut was really nice as well.
And as the piece de resistance – the roasted fish were out of this and we revenged it right out of the foil. It felt so good and natural to eat stuff right out of the ground and sea. And a lovely sunset dip in the Sea to end off the day. And Saturday had even more down-to-earth cooking after Melissa and I went out to learn to catch big fish. After seeing some crazy looking splashing not so far from the boat, we circled around a few times before I felt a tug. After enlisting some help, I pulled out an 8-pounder – not bad!
Melissa steered the boat for a bit, but I’m not so good at that stuff, so I just played around with some flying fish that we caught earlier – flying fish is the national animal of Barbados and they have very large fins that spread out to allow them to jump out and almost hover in the air for a split second. I guess pretty fun to catch with nets.
And after that excitement, another bonfire was set up and, after guts were removed, roasted the flying fish “in their jackets” and got the 101 on de-boning, taking off the skin and what not to eat on the inside. Taking the skin off and dunking them in the saltwater provides as much seasoning as you need on these babies. Needless to say, I’m eating a lot of fish and loving it.