Monday, November 12, 2007

Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit by Austin Clarke

Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit

Clarke portrays the culture of Barbados with descriptions of different dishes and the rituals surrounding them. Each meal originated with the tension of slavery and rebellions in the early years of Barbados. The meals are slave food, made from the leftovers of the plantation house. With each chapter, Clarke shows how a food created in the time of poverty and suppression has been changed to a traditional, native meal, full of ritual and meaning.

Many times Clarke writes of his perceptions of racism.

"...Only now do I realize why we called the rice from Demerara, and later from Trinidad, "white rice." White rice was nothing more than plain rice. Through a quirk in my understanding of race and colour, I had thought that white rice was of higher quality and must have been prepared expressly for the tables of the Plantation."

The food doesn't always sound delicious...

"When we finish, and the bones are tossed into the yard ... I wander through the neighbourhood, chewing the eyeballs of the chicken, pretending they are two gobs of Wrigley's chewing gum in my mouth."