The Real Taste of Jamaica

I bought Enid Donaldson's at the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston, Jamaica as I was heading home from a brief weekend trip. I had sampled most of the classic Jamaican dishes (and a range of Jamaican rums) so I was eager to try my hand at them when I got home.

Donaldson's book is excellent in many ways, but it has a few flaws that I can address here. To start with the strengths of the book: It is well and engagingly written, and filled with very good photos. It has a good section on ingredients with descriptions, illustrations, and tips. The recipes cover all the bases, from appetizers to desserts and drinks.

The problems are few and most can be remedied with experience and a sharp eye: The photos don't always reflect the dish as the recipe would produce it, so pay attention to the text. In many cases, simple steps are missing, probably assumed; an experienced cook will recognize these and account for them successfully in most cases. The greatest difficulty that I had with preparing the recipes in this book was in finding the ingredients: Donaldson presents the Jamaican names for everything, but the same ingredients are usually sold in the USA in Hispanic markets by their Spanish names. I describe those in a separate post on Jamaican Ingredients.

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