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Sunday, June 16, 2024

An Unforgettable Folks-to-Folks Breakfast in Freeport


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Find out about Bahamian tradition and luxuriate in a conventional breakfast hosted by a volunteer ambassador within the people-to-people Bahamas program in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Portrait of Collete Williams, one of the volunteer ambassadors in the People-to-People program in Freeport, Bahamas.
Collete Williams is among the volunteer ambassadors within the Folks-to-Folks program within the Bahamas. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

It’s 8:30 a.m. on a sunny Friday morning in January once we pull as much as the Freeport residence of Collete Williams and are ushered to the again patio for a conventional Bahamian breakfast.

Forged iron skillets of heat Johnny cake are already on the desk, in addition to plates of sliced Johnny bread.

It’s an ongoing debate which is healthier, however the one actual distinction between Johnny cake and Johnny bread is outwardly that one is combined like a batter and the opposite is kneaded like a bread.

Two flavors of tea in carafes.
Butterfly pea tea and hibiscus tea. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

I assist myself to a few sorts of home made “bush tea” — iced hibiscus tea, iced butterfly pea tea that turns from deep blue to lavender whenever you add lemon (due to the change in pH ranges), and sizzling fever grass and ginger tea.

“Any Bahamian is aware of you don’t go away the home with out consuming, mama will let you know — even if you happen to simply go away with some tea and bread,” says Williams by means of welcome.

“However you don’t omit of the home together with your abdomen empty.”

There’s zero likelihood of that taking place for at present’s Folks-to-Folks breakfast expertise, a part of a complimentary program that matches curious guests to Grand Bahama with volunteer native “ambassadors.”

I’ve spent 25 years writing about meals, testing recipes and authoring cookbooks, and like to get into different folks’s kitchens and listen to their culinary secrets and techniques.

It’s uncommon to be invited right into a stranger’s residence for a meal. So this expertise guarantees to be memorable.

The Folks-to-Folks Bahamian Breakfast Menu

Two homemade sauce bottles on table with utensils and plates.
Get pleasure from some home made sizzling sauce together with your breakfast. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Two home made sizzling sauces — Run Ya Mouth and Bongie on Fireplace — stand on the prepared.

Chafing dishes on a aspect desk are stuffed with stew fish (snapper) and rooster souse — the Bahamian rooster soup that’s eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Stew fish and chicken souse in pans on table.
Stew fish and rooster souse. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

And canned corned beef has by no means appeared so good. It’s dolled up with bell peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary.

All that we’re ready on is yellow grits to go along with the corned beef.

For that, we pop into the kitchen to look at the ultimate preparations.

“Corned beef and grits,” says Williams with a proud grin.

Corned beef and grits in white bowl on red table cloth.
Corned beef (typically often known as “hearth engine”) and grits. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

“Pay attention, I would like you to know if you happen to all don’t eat it up, I’ve my child. That’s her favorite dish. All I’ve to do is make one name and matter of reality she can be down right here faster than you guys can get again.”

What’s the Folks-to-Folks Bahamas Program? 

This Folks-to-Folks program has been supplied right here on about half a dozen islands for about 4 a long time, explains Bahamas Ministry of Tourism govt Cestina Nixon.

“This system Is an expertise that’s designed to offer an perception of how the Bahamians reside and to offer a private encounter with our tradition.”

A local volunteer ambassador at a People-to-People breakfast in Freeport, Bahamas.
Pattern some “bush tea” as a part of the Folks-to-Folks breakfast in Freeport, Bahamas. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

This system’s 4 important themes are culinary, tradition, pure wonders and household actions.

To be able to take part, travellers fill out an on-line type earlier than they go to. They share their journey dates, age, gender, occupation and household make-up. The hope is to be matched with a neighborhood for a number of hours.

Some folks may be invited into a house.

Backyard and gardens.
Spacious yard and gardens. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Others may go to a seashore, attend the well-known Wednesday evening barbecue or take an island tour.

This system itself is free. However you pay your individual manner if a restaurant meal or different prices are concerned.

Pre-pandemic, Grand Bahama made about 40 matches a yr and it’s simply beginning to be constructed again up.

“We’ve very hospitable folks,” Nixon explains.

Locals are “Ambassadors” for Bahamian Tradition

Our volunteer ambassador, Collete Williams, spent her profession within the tourism trade and is an empty nester now that her three youngsters are grown.

“I like to share my tradition with different folks,” she enthuses.

She enjoys internet hosting and entertaining folks. She additionally loves gardening, cooking and baking.

“I eat, sleep and drink Bahamian tradition.”

At present, she’s feeding a couple of dozen company, largely journey writers like me from Canada in addition to native tourism officers.

Guests enjoying breakfast at a table outside.
Visitors share breakfast with Collete Williams (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

We make fast work of breakfast. And as folks linger, I ask for a backyard tour.

Pigeon peas in the garden with hand.
Pigeon peas within the backyard. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

Williams lovingly exhibits off just about each plant from cauliflower and Lacinato kale to pigeon peas, herbs, papayas, bananas and even a lone pineapple.

I can solely think about the limitless scrumptious meals she makes from this bounty.

Earlier than we head out to proceed exploring Grand Bahama, Williams asks us to weigh in on the Johnny cake versus Johnny bread debate.

Johnny cake in cast iron skillet on table with plant.
A serving of Johnny cake. (Credit score: Jennifer Bain)

She loves the softer Johnny cake with rooster souse and the sturdier Johnny bread with stew fish.

Why restrict your self to only one once they’re each unbelievable, I say, and Williams explodes with approving laughter.

The Folks-to-Folks Tea Occasion in Bahamas

It’s also possible to get pleasure from a Folks-to-Folks tea celebration in Nassau, Bahamas.

A number of occasions a yr, there’s a free Folks-to-Folks tea celebration with storytelling, music, leisure, pastries, sandwiches and “bush” teas, reminiscent of the 2 teas I loved at Collete’s people-to-people breakfast.

The Folks-to-Folks breakfast takes place on the historic Authorities Home in Nassau, Bahamas. A courtesy shuttle is offered from native motels in Nassau for guests desirous to attend.

⭐️ Foodie Tip: Make the same bush tea at residence with our recipe for iced sorrel ( hibiscus) tea!

Extra Caribbean Breakfast Experiences You’ll Love

FAQs

What group is liable for the Folks-to-Folks program?

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is liable for the Folks-to-Folks program. They match native volunteer “ambassadors” with guests within the 4 important expertise themes of culinary, tradition, pure wonders and household.

What’s a typical Bahamian breakfast?

A typical Bahamian breakfast options “Fireplace Engine” (canned corned beef), stew fish, rooster souse, grits and Johnny cake or bread.

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A collage of food and people during a People-to-People breakfast in the Bahamas.

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