Love and Sweet Food

by Austin Clarke
ISBN: 0887621538

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A Review of: Love and Sweet Food: A Culinary Memoir
by Brian Fawcett

Austin Clarke's Love and Sweet Food is actually a reprint of a book Clarke published with Random House about five years ago under the title of Pigtails n Breadfruit. The subject is the food he ate and learned to cook while he was growing up in Barbados. It's a shame the book was underdistributed the first time around because it's a great read, and Clarke knows what he's talking about. It's as much a work of cultural analysis as it is a cookbook, although the recipes are all there, and they're not hard to follow despite Clarke's charming if occasionally annoying use of dialect.
Be forewarned. This isn't the food you'll get in a Barbados 4-Star resort. It's local food, the recipes (Clarke takes great pains to explain) that sifted down to the present from the black slaves who populated the sugar and banana plantations on the island. Mostly it isn't particularly subtle food, but it is serious cuisine for all that, and the several recipes I've tried are excellent. They didn't make me feel as if I could go outside and lift the front end of a dumptruck as Clarke suggests they would, but they were delicious, and the food did stick to my ribs as advertised.

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