I’ve been prestige to have born and live in three different continents, in which food has been an important influence within my family. But the ironic part of it all, when I was younger, I never really appreciated the different cuisine that was presented to me then. Food was never something I like to eat or experience. I only ate it for necessity of life. I never cooked or even knew how to cook until about 5 years ago. I used to say, I didn’t need to cook cause my mom did it for us and she loved it. You see, my mom is the best in the kitchen. I’m sure, we all think that about our moms. Everything my mom cooks is simply delicious and so tasteful.
I was born in Georgetown , Guyana (South America), where there can be found many influences in the Guyanese cuisine, due to the country’s position and historical background. The most important cooking styles have been adopted from the East Indian, Caribbean, African and Chinese cuisines, but there are also many European influences, as Guyana is basically a harmonic blend of these all. Most of these cuisines are based on seafood and fish dishes which include the traditional stew called pepper pot, which contains cassava juice, meat, hot pepper and various seasonings. The Guyanese cuisine is also curried and this characteristic belongs to the Indian people, which have roti and various spices. In the region of Demarara, many sweet local delicacies, as this region is famous for the sugar that it produces and as well, for the traditional rum. In the capital Georgetown, the variety of foods is wide, as all Guyana’s influences, belonging to various countries, can be found in this city.
When I was 10, my family and I moved to Toronto, Canada. The Canadian cuisine varies widely depending on the regions of the nation. The three earliest cuisines of Canada were the First Nations, English, and French roots, with the traditional cuisine of English Canada closely related to British and American cuisine, while the traditional cuisine of French Canada has evolved from French cuisine and the winter provisions of fur traders. With subsequent waves of immigration in the 19th and 20th century from Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean, the regional cuisines were subsequently augmented. Canada is the world’s largest producer of Maple syrup.
In 2005, I married an Italian and moved to North Italy, where I started to discover the difference between North American Italian cuisine to the traditional Italian cooking. Who doesn’t know about and love Italian cooking? I started to open myself to different food and to experience the different style of cooking and flavours that were around me.
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century. Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world, with influences abroad.
The main characteristics of Italian cuisine is its extreme simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Dishes and recipes are often the creation of grandmothers rather than of chefs, and this makes many recipes ideally suited for home cooking. This is one of the main reasons behind the ever increasing popularity of this cuisine, as cooking magazine in foreign countries popularize Italian recipes targeted at the home cook. Ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated with variations throughout the country. Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine, with many variations. Coffee, specifically espresso, has become important in Italian cuisine.
When my daughter was born in 2008, I started experimenting with cooking. I discovered cooking and baking was my form of relaxation from my busy stressful life. I discovered mixing different spices and ingredients together can actually make an interesting and quite tasty meal…quite fascinating! I’m fortunate to have my mom’s recipes, which are influences from the Guyanese/Indian/Canadian culture, when I’m missing home and craving some of my mom’s home cooking. I’m able to incorporate her recipes with the ingredients that I can find here in North Italy – I called my recipes my form of “fusion cooking”!