15th Day of Christmas – Cooking the Christmas Dinner

Photo: JIS Photographer

Jamaicans use both modern and traditional cooking methods and/or utensils to prepare the Christmas dinner.   A few are described here.

  • Coal Stove: This is a popular cooking equipment that has withstood time. It is a small charcoal/wood fuelled cooker with a basin-like top covered by a flat metal grille. Any meal can be cooked on a Coal Stove but it is usually reserved for dishes that require a lengthy time for cooking. Examples of savory foods usually prepared on the coal stove to give them just the right flavour include roasted yam and corn, rice and peas, manish water, fried fish and curried goat, as well as the baking of puddings and tie leaf otherwise known as ‘duckunoo’.
  • Dutch Pot/Dutchie: This cast iron pot is often placed on a coal stove or an open fire. It is the popular utensil used for cooking a variety of meats as well as baking cakes and puddings during the holidays. Many Jamaicans know the jingle, “Hell a top, hell a bottom, halleluiah inna di middle.” This describes the placing of live firewood or coal being placed underneath and on top of the pot for baking.  This allows for the pushing of heat in the middle, thereby contributing to an even and efficient baking of the item.
  • Wood Fire: Many meals are prepared on an open fire at Christmas time. To make or ‘ketch up’ the fire, three  building blocks or large stones  are placed around the dried wood, more commonly called ‘firewood’, which  is placed in the middle and lit.  After it has been lit, the pot is usually placed above the fire. To regulate the heat of the fire, additional wood is removed or added periodically.

Please share with us the cooking methods and/or utensils that you will use to prepare your Christmas dinner.

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