Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What is Callaloo Soup?

A year ago yesterday I started on this blogging adventure, not having a clue where it would lead me. I wasn't sure how long I would keep on blogging, and I can't believe how quickly the last year has passed. I like to think that writing this blog has not only allowed my friends and family to learn more about my life in France, but has also helped me to improve my writing, something that has always been on my long list of :To Dos".

In thinking about the past year of blogging it occured to me that I never explained just what Callaloo Soup is. Those of you in the Caribbean or in some way associated with that part of the world need no explanation I'm sure. For all my other loyal readers however it certainly bears a description.

Callaloo is the familiar name for the large, heart shaped leaves of the root vegetable known as dasheen or taro or malanga. When cooked, it has a consistency similar to spinach, and is just as nutritious. Callaloo Soup is a rich chunky soup made from a base of callaloo leaves, and containing a selection of root vegetables (dasheen, tania, yam, sweet potaoes, green bananas), salted pork, coconut milk, spices and stiff & sticky dumplings. And hence the catch line of the blog: a little bit of everything.

Ironically, as a child growing up in Grenada I didn't even like this soup, I had to be forced to eat it, the only part I enjoyed were those stiff & sticky dumplings. Now when I do get the chance to eat it I lick the bowl. Once I started living outside of the Caribbean, Callaloo Soup became a symbol to me of everything Caribbean, everything Grenadian, everything that said home. It was the perfect name for my blog.

So what else is Callaloo Soup? A place for me to write my thoughts. A place for me to share my art. Somewhere I can connect with people the world over. A place through which I can make friends. My little spot on the world wide web.

3 comments:

lia from luebeck, germany said...

Francine,

Congratulations! A year’s anniversary well worth celebrating. You have not only given your family and friends much to read and ponder about, but also those of us who discovered your blog in more convoluted ways. I’ve been a reader of your blog for about half the time since you started, and what a delight it has been.

I know I came upon your blog through a link somewhere, but it was its reference to callaloo soup, my absolutely favourite soup (though minus the salted pork), that clinched your immediate entry onto my Blogline’s list.

Thank you.

Jade said...

You know, that photo just looked wrong to me, but then I remembered that callaloo in Jamaica is not the same thing as over in the Eastern Caribbean. I think I'd realised that when we were in Trinidad but I never did get to know what it was there because it was never high on my list of preferred foods.

Now I eat callaloo but still not the soup (too green), but my taste keeps changing as I "mature" so who knows?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Just read your article on Callaloo and I have to disagree with your description of what Callaloo is. I will qualify what I am about to say, by letting you know that my grandparents were farmers and I grew up with plants like these all around me.

In Jamaica where I come from, Callaloo is not the leaves of the Dasheen plant. Callaloo is a member of the Taro species but it is a separate plant from the Dasheen.

Callaloo is a leaf vegetable. Dasheen bears a tuber. In Jamaica, noone eats the leaf of the Dasheen plant because it is bitter. When harvested, the leaves are usually discarded and the tuber retained for cooking. Most animals even hates the leaves.

The picture that you have depicted in your article is actually that of the Dasheen. Callaloo leaves are much smaller and they are even smaller plants. Please see link below.

http://eatjamaican.com/jamaican-foods/calaloo1.gif

One of the most popular dishes I know that is made from Callaloo is called Pepper Pot Soup and the recipe is below.

http://www.jamaicamekrazy.com/peppersoup.html

Regards,
Andrew Prince
London, England