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Di ol' Dutch pot steals di show at the Epicurean 'Jawaiian' Escape


Sweet potato in Dutch pot

Janet Silvera, Gleaner Writer

JAMAICAN GRANDMOTHERS
will tell you, the blacker the Dutch pot, the sweeter the rice and peas. Not to mention the luscious pot roast prepared at Christmas time in cookware that has become synonymous with Jamaican kitchens at home and abroad.

Our granny's Dutch pot has come into its own. And, more and more of the island's finest hotels are realising its potential, not only as a conversation piece, but its ability to cook just about anything imaginable.

Last Friday night, SuperClubs Grand Lido Negril, placed charcoal under 30 Dutch pots that stole the show at its "Taste of Jamaica Festival", during the four-day Epicurean 'Jawaiian' Escape.

Gleaming, large Dutch pots commanded attention throughout the festival, bearing the most beautiful sweet potatoes conceivable, scrumptious corn; mouth-watering steamed fish and delightful curried goat.

The Dutch pot is new to the resort, but not new to the cooks, "Every cook is drawing for a Dutch pot," declared the hotel's executive chef, Martin Maginley.

He said the only way to do authentic Jamaican food is in the Dutch pot. "It's heat and temperature is consistent and it hardly ever burns food."

The only thing
Chef Maginley says was missing from
the array of Dutch pots was fried fish, which he plans to offer next year.

However, there was enough great food to satisfy even the most adventurous epicure. There for the taking was conch soup with peanuts, rice and peas, yam, plantain and salt fish, jerk chicken and pork on pit, roast suckling pig, Red Stripe barbecue spare ribs, assorted Jamaican-style steamed fish with okra, steamed white rice and grilled lobster with jerk butter.

The Dutch pot was in all its glory on Friday night, probably reminiscing on the days it first landed in Africa, before making its long voyage to Jamaica.

HISTORY OF THE DUTCH POT

Its history goes something like this. The Dutch pot dates back to the Iron-Age when man learned to cast iron into vessels of different shapes for a variety of purposes. In the mid 1600s the Dutch pot arrived
from the Netherlands, along with the early explorers, who used these cooking vessels exclusively, on their expeditions into the interior.

It was during this period that the tribal Africans
saw these pots and seeing the practical uses, traded
in animal hides and other commodities for them.

Made from aluminium scraps and river sand, the Dutch pot is today manufactured by Carib Metals,
in the 18th century commercial capital of Falmouth, Trelawny.

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