Arican american couple dancing near table with food in kitchen

10 Caribbean dishes a woman needs to learn to cook to keep her Caribbean man

By Caribbean Vybes

“What you want to eat honey?” Candy asks Renaldo, her boyfriend of 7 months. Before he can answer, she pulls out takeout menus for Domino’s Pizza, KFC and Mei Doan Kook.

“What’s Mei Doan Kook?”

 “Chinese Restaurant. Options include fried rice, tea-smoked duck, red-fried pork, dry-fried beef and noodles, shark fin soup and if you want to be adventurous hot and sour squid or steamed frog on a lotus leaf.”

Renaldo looks at Candy hoping that she has a warped sense of humour but to his dismay, he realises that she is serious when she takes up the phone and starts dialling. He bolts off the couch and takes a super flying leap, like Flash from the movie Justice League.

“Where you going?” Candy calls after him, very confused.

“I like to eat Caribbean pot food, and I can’t relate to a Mei Doan Kook type of woman!!!” Renaldo shouts so loudly that the neighbour who likes to steal people man hears him. In no time the neighbour runs out like Usain Bolt and hands Renaldo cooked food in a huge container.

Don’t be like Candy. 

Here are 10 Caribbean dishes a woman needs to learn to cook to keep her Caribbean man. 

10. Saltfish

It’s such a staple dish that Mighty Sparrow sang about it. Remember, you want to keep him; not send him to the hospital for high blood pressure. Therefore, your cooked saltfish must have the right amount of saltiness and all the “fixings” (vegetables and seasoning). If you are from Jamaica, you must know how to cook ackee to pair with the saltfish. Fish Da Mega Boss, a St. Maarten calypsonian advises, “If it’s cook right, he won’t eat out!”

9. Steamed Fish

A woman needs to know how to prepare steamed fish for her man’s palate. The fish must be properly cleaned and well-seasoned. Don’t forget the okra.

8. Corn/Funji/Coo-Coo/Polenta/Funche

Saltfish and Steamed Fish pair nicely with corn. No, I don’t mean corn on the cob. I’m referring to the Caribbean delicacy you make from cornmeal. It is referred by different names in various Caribbean countries. In St. Kitts and Nevis, where I’m from, locals like to say “tun corn” (turn corn) because a cook must know how to stir it well to avoid any lumps.

7. Dumplings

This dish also blends well with saltfish or steamed fish. Some cooks prepare them round and nice and others make them elongated. Whatever the shape, ensure that you knead your dough properly so they do not disintegrate in the pot (like Candy’s relationship with Renaldo). Some men when they call for dumplings, they actually mean coconut dumplings. So keep grated coconut close by.

6. Soup

If (1) you cannot see anything on the surface and (2) you dipped your spoon and dished out three items, more than likely you cooked non-Caribbean traditional soup. What you have prepared, will be considered as gravy, if it has a taste. If it doesn’t have a taste, then it’s liquid. 

Caribbean soup should have a whole heap of seasoning and an assortment of ground provisions or what is known as “hard food” in some islands, like St. Vincent. Do not send your man to the dentist! Hard food doesn’t mean the food should be hard. Make sure that everything is boiled properly.

5. Johnny Cakes

You must get the right dough texture when making this delicacy. Note that they are not known as “Grease Cakes” so do not make them greasy. 

4. Brown Chicken Stew

Candy may like her KFC but Caribbean men like their home-cooked chicken. Jamaicans love their jerk chicken. Regardless of where you reside, a flavourful brown chicken stew will keep your man smiling.

3. Pork

Some men want saltfish; others want pork. Jamaicans like their jerk pork. If your man likes pork, but you, on the other hand, wrinkle your nose just at the mention of it, remember the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. No one is telling you to eat it, if you don’t like it. Just know how to prepare it, if you have a pork lover. 

2. Rice and Peas

Rice and peas is a must have. In Belize, they refer to it as rice and beans. Not everyone prepares it correctly. Nothing is worse than having edible rice but the peas are so hard that if you throw them at someone, the person will get a concussion. Workmen wouldn’t need to use a hydraulic chainsaw or jackhammer to cut concrete. They can just come for the peas. 

On a lighter note, my beautiful ladies, ensure that your peas are soft and edible. Some cooks use coconut milk but whatever your preference, ensure that your pot is seasoned. 

1. Cookup/Pelau/Locri

This is a Caribbean one pot dish that will have your man singing, “Wo-yoy-yoy{“type”:”block”,”srcIndex”:1,”srcClientId”:”d4ad08ec-61a2-48d8-bf0b-3a304fe66ed2″,”srcRootClientId”:””}-yoy! I love this one pot,” which is your man’s remix of Bob Marley’s song, “One Drop”. It’s rice and peas cooked with a medley of ingredients. Some cooks add chicken/pork/saltfish. Die-hard pork lovers argue that cookup without pork is known as rice and peas and chicken. Others quarrel, pork isn’t needed. Whatever your preference, keep it tasty.

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Roti, curried goat, black pudding (blood pudding), goat water, conch chowder, callaloo and other delicacies, favoured in various islands, can be added to your list. However, once you know how to prepare what’s mentioned, your Caribbean man will love you even more!

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