Maroon cuisine and food preparation could be considered an art form unto itself. By understanding the various herbs, vegetables and wildlife available to them, the Maroons have developed a sophisticated, organic approach akin to culinary alchemy.
The Maroons are well known for preparing dishes from cacoon: a nut that grows in pods borne on a vine of the same name. After several preparatory stages of roasting, slicing and soaking, the cacoon may be eaten alone, but is more commonly cooked with pig’s head or used in combination with janga – a kind of crayfish found in fresh water – to make both a soup and a stew. Cacoon is also used to make a version of the popular dish rundown, in which the sliced cacoon is simmered in coconut cream.
The Maroons also prepare a version of the Jamaican treat dookunu, which they call boyo. It’s a delicious recipe of grated coconut mixed with sugar, coconut milk and spices. The ingredients are poured into a folded banana or plantain leaf, which is then tied and placed in boiling water.
Another favorite Maroon dish bears a strong similarity to fufu, a staple in parts of central and western Africa. Roasted breadfruit or yellow yam is pounded to an even consistency in a mortar with added seasoning and butter, then moulded into a ball and served.
The most well-known method of Maroon food preparation that has become extremely popular in wider Jamaica – and certainly globally – is jerk. As the story goes, the first Maroons learned how to cure meat from the Tainos, whose barbacoa, or barbecue as we it is commonly called, required seasoning the meat and drying it in the sun or smoking it over open wood fires. The Maroons adapted these methods of scoring, seasoning and smoking their meat to come up with what we know today as jerk.
The Cockpit Country is made up of several distinct communities, each of which offers a unique window onto Jamaican culture. Some of the main regions include, Accompong, Flagstaff, Windsor, Wait-A-Bit/Litchfield, and Sherwood Content. Many of these centers are located close to the Cockpit interior, while others can be reached via a 2-3 hour drive.
Floyd Palmer, Wood Carver Wood carver Floyd Palmer of Marron Town, St. James, credits his influences to the lizards, owls and frogs he’d catch and release as a child. His [...]