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.”
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.Over 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.
For 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.
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!
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!