Barbados Slim?!…

January 20, 2015

image courtesy of

…last time I heard, you were in Barbados!

It’s a Futurama quote. If you don’t get it, don’t sweat it. Now where were we…

So Barbados means “the bearded ones” although it is unclear whether it was the Spanish or the Portuguese who dubbed it so. Neither however felt that in the first half of the 16th century it was a place worth claiming… so they left. When the British showed up in 1627, nearly a century later, they had different thoughts. The island was uninhabited, but one structure showed proof of a previous civilization, a kind of bridge. And so, with the legendary wit of the English, the foundation for the capital of Bridgetown was born.

So what do you do with an empty tropical island 4,000 miles from your country? Populate it of course. So the good King and Earls give land grants to nobles to settle and organize the new land. Or…if 25 years later, the King is overthrown and executed and a genocidal protestant Lord Protector seizes tremendous power and begins an ethnic cleansing of catholic Ireland… he might just ship the “lucky” ones who survive to a remote island as white slaves.

You know, in the scheme of things they both work as options to populate an island, one being… a tad more maniacal… and evil. These events have inspired many films as well as the hit song “Tobacco Island” by Irish punk-rock group Flogging Molly. It also gave birth to the very specific term “Barbadosed”.

Later in 1751, the island would play host to a 19 year old young man named George Washington, who had family ties to early colonists. It is the only country other America to have been visited by the founding father. Barbados has been independent since 1966 yet still recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It is also the 7th most densely populated island in the world, ahead of Haiti, Japan, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom.

Of course fish, and specifically flying fish, play a large role in the cuisine of Barbados. This is clearly why I chose a pork dish. Many native meals are a mix of British, Indian, and African ingredients and flavors. As I mentioned earlier, the Portuguese were among the first to visit the island and although they did not claim it or stay, they introduced wild hogs to be a food source if needed in the future. The British later ate them all… seriously… but I still felt it was a nice call back to the earliest founding of the island.

This recipe is very easy and can be done with a crock pot or on the stove. It is very sweet. Let me just put that out there, between the tomatoes, sweet peppers, and onions (I caramelize them a little) it is sweet. Just letting you know in case that is not your thing. The sweetness is balanced nicely with the savory from the pork fat (even if you use lean cuts like I would suggest) and the tangy-ness of the garlic and Worcestershire. You can also adjust how much black pepper you add to your taste which would change the balance of the sweet as well. The seemingly small addition of nutmeg, nevertheless adds a sub-continental flare which does stand out. This would go great with beans and rice or pretty much anything… or just a big bowl…that’s how we ate it.

Next we travel to the land of some of my ancestors…Belarus. Which I just learned does NOT mean Beautiful Russia but in fact White Russia. Why? We’ll get into that next time… but it’s not racist… I swear…




Stewed Down Chops Recipe

4 servings


4 servings pork chops (preferably with the skin on) or lamb chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 medium onions, quartered and sliced
1 cup or (2) sweet peppers, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh thyme or
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Pepper sauce to taste
A few dashes of worcestershire sauce
14 oz can peeled tomatoes, diced
2 cups water



Rub salt on to the pork chops and leave for 10 minutes. Wash and pat dry.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the chops on both sides over a medium to high heat (about 10 minutes). Remove the chops from the pan and set aside.

Sauté the onions until beginning to brown, add the garlic and sweet peppers and sauté for a further couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, nutmeg, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, water and replace the pork chops.

Cover and simmer over a low heat until the chops are tender (1-2 hours) Add more water during cooking if necessary.


One Response to “Barbados Slim?!…”

  1. Michael Says:

    Nice recount. I actually cover the George Washington story along with many others in the Bimoo app for visitors to Barbados. Take a look.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: