Headlines were made around the world when British singer Adele was hit by claims of "cultural appropriation" when she wore a Jamaican flag string bikini and bantu knots in her hair. The "Rolling in the Deep" singer was thrust into a media frenzy by claims that she was profiting off of Caribbean culture because of both her hairstyle and attire.
UK superstar Adele celebrating Notting Hill Carnival earlier this year.
Who decides what is cultural appropriation? When is the line crossed between taking part and enjoying a culture different from your own and profiting from it? This can be tricky and the same can be said for products being sold around the world. Upscale food magazines now publish everything from sushi to dhal which was unheard of even a decade ago when French cuisine was all that everyone aspired to.
The modern day concept of sushi is said to have been invented in Japan by Hanya Yohei sometime in the mid-1800s. Today, what was once a delicacy can be found in supermarkets and restaurants around the world.
Caribbean cuisine has been making waves in North America and the UK. This is probably due to its large diaspora which is scattered across the globe. Jamaica's Jerk Chicken and Trinidad and Tobago's Doubles have adorned the pages of Bon Appetit and Food and Wine respectively. When published these were a great source of pride and made the rounds on social media as Caribbean cuisine having "made it."
Jamaican Jerk Chicken served with rice and beans.
At Charles & Co we are trying to expand the repertoire of everyday ingredients from the Caribbean. We want those familiar with the region to be reminded of their favourite beach or city. We want to try and use the flavours we know and love in new and different ways, but we also want everyone that visits our site to understand more about cooking in the Caribbean, and the very many types of cuisine that make up the region. We have many more ingredients and recipes to add, and we may not be using some of the ingredients in their traditional manner, but we hope that we are showing our way of combining authentic elements of this very special cuisine with other cultures around the world.