Haiti, it’s impossible for anything you’ve seen on tv to prepare you for what Port-au-Prince (capital of Haiti) looks like after the earthquake in 2010 that killed about 300.000 people in a day in 2010. And it’s cliche the worst kind of cliche to say life goes on, but of course it does. This is a city of 2.000.000 people as in so many places in the world you do what you need to do get by, you fight to live.
Six years after the earthquake many of the damage that the earthquake caused is still there. The main religion in Haiti is Voodoo, on of their gods in Baron Samedi he is the keeper of the gateway between this world and the next, to the believers certainly a creepy guy. Would it help you if I told you his also the saint of procreation and humor?
On the day of Baron Samedi, parades are organized with the cemetery as a destination. Although I can’t imagine going to cemetery is a happy occasion, the Haitians see this differently. On the day of Baron Samedi they celebrate life and bring offers to their ancestors. Offers like food and coffee.
Things you didn’t know about Haiti:
- Haiti produces Rhum Barbancourt, an award winning brand of rum that is referred to as “the rum of connoisseurs”.
- Haiti issued free visas and passports to 70 Jewish families during the Holocaust, about 300 lives saved. It has been speculated that one of the reason they couldn’t give more was the debt Haiti was paying to France, which was basically money the French decided Haiti owed them for freeing themselves from slavery. Haiti’s debt was “forgiven” after the devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010.
- In 1791, Haitians began what became the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world. Yes, the only one.
- The English word barbecue is that it’s a derivation from the Haitian word barbacoa. The Haitians were referring to the framework of sticks used to cook meat over fire, but Spanish explorers who encountered this cooking method also referred to the results – the cooked meat – as barbacoa.
- Colorful busses called taptaps take you from place to place named after the tap a passenger makes on the bus when they would like to get on or off.
Rice and beans a classic dish from Haiti but also from the entire Caribbean! So o easy to make, so simple yet soon delicious!
- 1⁄4cup coconut oil (or butter)
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1⁄2cup tomato sauce (or use 1/4 cup tomato paste plus 1/4 cup water, mixed)
- 2 cups red kidney beans cooked (canned okay, drain first)
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 3⁄4cups water (or stock)
- scotch bonnet pepper (or Tabasco chipotle sauce to taste)
- Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, beans, herbs, and scotch bonnet (if using). Simmer for 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.
- Stir in the rice, stock or water, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let set covered for another 5-10 minutes. Then stir lightly with a fork and serve.