The Language of Food (plus a giveaway)

I think James Beard put it best when he said, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” In my travels across the globe there has been but one constant – food is the key to understanding.

Recipes are historical notations to the lives we live, a connection to those that came before us. A meal prepared and shared with others ensures that a piece of our story is passed on. On my recent trip to Jamaica as a guest of the Jamaican Tourism Board, I had the privilege to share a meal with Robin Lim Lumsden, author of “Belcour: Jamaican, French & Chinese Family Recipes for Entertaining.”

Belcour: Jamican, French and Chinese Family Recipes for Entertaining The title itself hints at what an amazing story Robin tells with food. Jamaican of Scottish, Chinese, French and English descent, who also spent time living in Chicago, Robin herself is the proverbial melting pot. Alongside beautifully photographed dishes in the book, you’ll also find family photographs going back generations. Some tell the story of her family’s contribution to the founding of Jamaica’s iconic Red Stripe brewery, others chronicle the journey that brought her to Belcour and it’s own transformation from estate to an organic farm that produces many of the ingredients found in Belcour Preserves.Yogurt and Stewed GuavaOver a dish of fresh yogurt topped stewed guava, I began to develop a bit of a girl-crush on Robin. She has all the swagger of Bourdain, the approachability of Nigella, and subscribes to a Hemingway-esque philosophy that any meal is made better with a tot of scotch – for the cook!

In every dish she made for us there were tales of love, notes of bittersweet memory, a salting of pride and joy, all with healthy sprinkling of laughter. With each bite, Belcour became a part of me. Leaving, even after having only been there for a few hours, was difficult. I know I will go back.

Lilly Pond at Belcour LodgeFor the time being, I visit Belcour by making some of the dishes in her cookbook. My family has a tradition of sharing Sunday brunch, most often at home. Honestly this is mostly so I can only cook once on Sundays! When I got back from Jamaica it seemed only fitting to make a Robin-inspired meal.

Ackee and Saltfish auicheThe book has an entire section dedicated to brunch!

My sister-in-spice, Julie Cohn from “A Little Bite of Life” and I want you to cook up a story or two (okay, all the stories) from Robin’s book. Below you can enter to win a copy of the award-winning, stunning, one-of-a-kind… “Belcour: Jamaican, French & Chinese Family Recipes for Entertaining” And just in time for holiday entertaining season!

Be sure to visit A Little Bite of Life for extra entries AND my twist on Robin’s Crab Cakes with Mango. Yum!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Jamaican Tourism Board for a culinary trip around the island. All opinions are my own, I was not compensated for this post. I purchased the prize(s) myself, because I truly want to share them with you!  

106 thoughts on “The Language of Food (plus a giveaway)”

  1. In Jamaica, my grandma made a wicked oxtail and beans, so I was delighted to discover the gourmet version in Rome recently, and it would be so cool to win this book to see and try Robin’s family’s version as well…

    1. Oh Noella, that had me drooling! I can almost smell it cooking. Good luck. I know you’d LOVE Robin’s book!

    1. My grandma used to make chicken and dumplings. I can’t even see that on a menu without thinking of her. I’d wager your mom’s chicken and noodles take you back in time too.

  2. My mom’s side of the family always made Yorkshire Pudding for Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are two pans that my grandmother and mother had that were passed down through the years. I’m sure I could make it in a pan I already have but there is definitely something special about making it in one of those two highly seasoned ones.

  3. Our family’s storied recipe would have to be my grandmother’s 16-spice chicken, which she’d serve at almost every Sunday dinner and pass the recipe down to all of her children and grandchildren.

  4. Um? Well we didn’t really have something that was “known” in my family so I am not really sure how to answer this. I like to make all vegetarian items and my husband most likes pizzas and stir fries. I am also known for my cakes and cookies. Carrot and Chai cake are pretty well know from me and double chocolate chip vegan cookies.

  5. Our family’s “dish” is what we call tuna fish gravy. Most people cringe but it is wonderful if you grow up with it. It’s like a white sauce with tuna over biscuits or toast. Mmmmm!! We believe it started with our Danish ancestors somewhere. 🙂

  6. Fish chowder is my family’s favorite historical recipe- and I’ll let you in on a secret: Shred a parsnip & add it to the broth.

  7. My Mom has one but it goes by “that recipe I got off a chef in a bar in New Orleans”.
    She makes in once a year for my Dad. He died two years ago but we still carry on the tradition.
    Thanks!

  8. First, this cookbook looks amazing. I’m always in the market for new ones.

    I would say my family’s ‘storied’ recipe is latkes and matzoh ball soup on my side of the family, and rice pudding and noodle kugel on my husband’s side. Since his family has given me the rice pudding and kugel recipes, I get to make them too and they are delish.

  9. My families storied dish would be 2 things….. my grandmothers famous Buttermilk Biscuits and her cornbread stuffing for the holidays! Man there are so many it is hard to choose, but those are my 2 faves! I love cooking and hope I am half as good as her. 🙂

  10. My family’s “storied” dish is my Grandma’s “bread stuffing!” It’s a unique dish, delicious and we only make it once a year at Thanksgiving!

  11. My grandmother’s bread pudding – whenever she would visit, we begged her to make it, and we’ve all tried to reproduce it – with varying results! Nana’s is still the best!

  12. My husband is from El Salvador, so i make a dish called Pupusa’s and they are so amazing good!! Love them, so that would be our story. thank you so much would love this!!

  13. My husband makes baked french toast every Christmas for the whole family . It is something we look forward to all year.

  14. It would have to be my mom’s orange nut bread which she would bake every Christmas morning. After we looked at our stockings, we would have her nut bread warm from the oven before opening gifts.

  15. My storied recipes are recipes taught to me by my Italian Grandmother. She started to let me help, and watch in the kitchen when I was small.. and eventually she let me help more and more. I have such fond memories of our cooking and meals together. I know make my favorites and share them with my kids.

  16. It’s chicken with potatoes in a tomato sauce. Doesn’t really have a name, but it also doesn’t really need one 🙂

  17. Our family’s dish would have to be clam chowder. I remember going out as a child and digging up clams at the beach, cleaning the clams with my Grandfather and watching my Grandmother prepare the stew.

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