Antigua and Barbuda
There's a sale on sovereign states this week! Two for the price of one. That's right folks, step right up and see the mysterious Caribbean nation with two heads. I wonder if the people of Antigua and Barbuda ever get mad at each for being lumped together. I mean, they are two separate islands. I wonder if they get pissed off, kind of like how when you ask a New Yorker if they're from New Jersey. It's not pretty and you might end up with a black eye. And we're not even mentioning the bird guano covered, feral goat infested, volcanic rock island of Redonda which in my opinion should be added to the nation's name. It should be Antigua, Barbuda, and Feral Goat Infested Redonda. There, I said it.
There is a small war going on in the internets. What exactly is Antigua, Barbuda, and FGIR's national dish? Is it pepperpot like most people claim? Or is it the sweet potato and coconut infused dukana like some protest? Or maybe that crazy woman that I talked to on the Caribbean Grace Foods forums was right in insisting that bananas was the national dish. I thought about just taking a picture of a banana and calling it a day but I figured that you, my dear reader, would not be satisfied with that post. I decided to go with majority rules (in most cases majority blows) and cook the dishes that I thought best represented the islands. Pepperpot is a pretty common dish in a lot of Caribbean countries and the difference in this version is the addition of eddo leaves, pigeon peas, pork knuckle, and yucca. It also has calabaza squash, orange yams, habanero peppers, and pork belly. The day after I cooked this stew, fall weather arrived so you can all thank me for ending summer for you. This is a serious cool weather dish.
Fungee (pronounced 'fun-jee') is basically corn meal or polenta cooked until it forms a ball. It's pretty difficult to make because it splatters and you are required to keep stirring now matter how much of your hand get burned and blistered. When cooking this dish, the wooden spoon becomes like a crude torture device, stirring and scalding. Next time I'll wear mittens. Corn meal, water, butter, mittens, and a stacked set of guns (arm muscles). That's all you need to make this simple but effective side dish. I have to say, it goes pretty damn well with the pepperpot. As the stew infiltrates the fungee it becomes almost dumpling like in texture. Very tasty. Information was hard to come by on this nation but I'm glad I was able to find a piece of the islands and cook it in my kitchen. I just hope I never come across any feral goats.
For more info on this project, read this: 203 Sovereign States