Search our site
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

Jamaican Food History, Biology, Culture by

Jamaican Food History, Biology, Culture


Jamaican Food History, Biology, Culture by

The historical study of food and the anthropology of food are recent and growing fields of scholarly inquiry. Why people eat what they do and how they prepare it is an important means of studying a culture. It can reveal much about a culture's crop production, economy, eating rituals, preparation methods, festivals, foodways, history and environmental care, and degradation.This beautifully illustrated book by one of the Caribbean's pre-eminent historians, B.W. Higman, sheds new light on food and cultural practices in Jamaica from the time of the earliest Taino inhabitants through the introduction of different foodways by enslaved cultures, to creole adaptations to the fast-food phenomena of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The author examines the shift in Jamaican food practices over time, from the Tainos' use of bitter cassava to the Maroons' introduction of jerk pork, and the population's love affair with the fruits of the island such as paw paw, guava, star apple, and avocado pear. In this well-written and accessible study, the author traces how endemic animals, delicacies such as the turtle, ringtail pigeon, black land crab and mountain mullet, barely retained their popular status into the early twentieth century and are now almost completely forgotten, their populations dramatically depleted, often endangered.The two main sections of the book deal separately with plants and animals. Plants are grouped together according to the parts of them used as food: roots, stalks and leaves, fruits and seeds. Generally, all aspects of a particular plant have been discussed together and the plant as a whole has been located in its dominant use. Animals are treated in the same way, putting all of their uses in a single place but grouped into biological families.

About the Author

B.W. Higman is William Keith Hancock Professor of History, Australian National University, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. His award-winning publications include Slave Population and Economy in Jamaica, 1807-1834, which won the Bancroft Prize in American History; Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834, which won the Elsa Goveia Prize of the Association of Caribbean Historians; and Montpelier, Jamaica: A Plantation Community in Slavery and Freedom, 1739-1912, which also won an Elsa Goveia Prize and an award from the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

15th February 2008


More books by
Author 'Like for Like'


University of the West Indies Press




Social & cultural history
Cookery / food & drink etc
Food & beverage technology



Lovereading always comes up with great suggestions and has introduced me to enjoyable books and new authors to discover.

Gaynor Passmore

I recommend Lovereading because you get honest reviews on a whole range of genres-there's something for everyone. It's the only site I need.

Sian Spinney

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

I 'Lovereading' because it lets me see what new books are around with a detailed synopsis and readers' reviews.

Judith Sharp

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale

Lovereading - a community of people passionate about reading and sharing their views. An incomparable website for book lovers.

Helen Clark

Lovereading is like booking a holiday, you don't know what it will be like and it is a whole new experience.

Sue Burton