The Hill View Jerk Centre
Oct 20, 2008
|The island of Jamaica is famous for its beautiful beaches, reggae music, Blue Mountain coffee, exotic fruits, and its cheerful people with their beautiful patois language. But, you haven't tasted Jamaica until you've tried Jamaican Jerk, ya mon! So, it's late in the day and Rannie has just brought us here to the Hill View Jerk Centre to experience this authentic Jamaican food. As one would suspect, it's called HILL VIEW because of the absolutely incredible view of the mountains across an expansive valley. Wow!
As mentioned earlier, we also take time at the end of each work day to reflect and 'debrief' as a team. This is what we'll be doing now after dinner. It's important for us to share our perspectives and find strategies to extend our helpfulness when we get back to Canada.
JAMAICAN JERK HISTORY
The term jerk is said to come from the word charqui, a Spanish term for jerked or dried meat, which eventually became jerky in English.
Another origin is linked to the jerking or poking of the meat with a sharp object, producing holes which were then filled with the spice mixture. Like most Caribbean islands, Jamaican foods are derivative of many different settlement cultures, including British, Dutch, French, Spanish, East Indian, West African, Portugese, and Chinese. The origins of jerk pork can be traced back to the pre-slavery days of the Cormantee hunters of West Africa through the Maroons, who were Jamaican slaves that escaped from the British during the invasion of 1655.
You can easily make jerked foods at home with a good recipe and an understanding of the requisite ingredients. The seasoning has three main ingredients: chile pepper, allspice berry, and thyme. Other spices and herbs (which may include cinnamon, ginger, cloves, garlic and onion depending on the cook) are combined with these and applied to the food which is then allowed to marinate. Finally, food is grilled to tender perfection.
Be forewarned, if you cannot handle spicy-hot foods, jerk may not be for you. Deletion of the chile pepper vastly changes the end product, and it's just not jerk without the heat!Take a look at the three most important ingredients of jerk seasoning before trying an authentic Jamaican jerk recipe.
The first main ingredient of jerk seasoning is Scotch bonnet chile pepper. The purpose of the chile pepper was not only to spice up normally bland foods, but also to preserve foods when refrigeration was not easy to come by and to aid in digestion. Habanero chiles are arguably the hottest in the world, one thousand times hotter than the jalapeño.
The allspice berry, also known as Jamaica or Myrtle pepper, is a popular spice in Jamaica and a necessity in jerk seasoning. Be aware that this is not the ground combination spice powder that is often used in pumpkin pies and such, but the berry of the evergreen pimento tree, which is native to the West Indies and South America. Most of the world's supply comes from Jamaica. The aroma is similar to a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and its flavor is slightly peppery.
The common herb, thyme, is also widely used in Jamaican foods, and is sold in dried bunches at the open-air markets. Thyme is also a digestive aid and has other beneficial health properties.