Bahamas

A cool bit of trivia I learned today: The Bahamas is one of only two countries whose official name in English begins with the word “the”, along with The Gambia.

My research of the Bahamas started with the conch; sea snails which are the component of most of the Bahamian dishes I found. There were conch fritters, conch salad, conch stew, conch’n’rice…. and the list goes on. I couldn’t get hold of any conch in leafy Cheshire, and to be honest wasn’t that keep on eating a monster sea snail.

I settled instead for a dish called chicken souse. It’s a sort of stew containing chicken and vegetables, flavoured with lime, chilli and all spice. There are lots of recipes available online, and I butchered a few of them to create my version. I added extra bell peppers to try and increase the veggie content. Apparently, souse is also known as hangover soup as it’s supposed to be a good cure, but I didn’t put it to the test.

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Souse is traditionally eaten with either grits, or a scone like bread called Johnnycake. The name Johnnycake seems to be derived from ‘Journey Cake’ as fishermen could make it on the decks of their boats. It’s made from flour, baking powder, salt, lard and milk. It tastes very much like a salty scone and was lovely for dunking in the souse.

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