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Oxtail Stew: A West Indian Christmas Dish With a Long History

In the British West Indies of the nineteenth century enslaved Africans cooked ox which a planter divided among his or her slaves during the Christmas along with “an extra allowance of yams, and flour or cornmeal, and a measure of rum,” observed one traveler. The mention of ox in the source reminds me of a conversation I had on Thursday when I went to buy some patties for lunch at one my favorite eateries near Marist College where I teach called the West Indies Restaurant and Market. It’s located on Main Street in Poughkeepsie just a block from the Poughkeepsie Train station; the last stop on the Metro North’s Hudson Line. According to one of the owners, oxtail remains a favorite Christmas dish among Jamaicans today. “Here we have it on the menu every day, but back home it’s too expensive for most folks. So they only make it on holidays like Christmas.” Here’s an oxtail stew recipe for you: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/oxtail_stew/

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