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Christmas Foodway Series: Rum and Aguardiente

Slice of rum cake (click the photo to enlarge the image), recipes below

One traveler to Africa during the nineteenth century provides an account of a Hausa people in West Africa that had the tradition of placing a bottle of rum, some cooked food, other prized household articles “on the grave over the head” of the deceased. In the tropical regions of the Americas rum was a commodity that was produced and consumed locally (and often illicitly). In colonial North America Native Americans often traded furs, cedar wood, and other goods that European settlers prized for it. In Latin America it was called aguardiente (distilled sugar cane spirits or rum) and it was often at the center of economic, political, and social conflicts between local communities and the state. Aguardiente served as a marker of social status and cultural identity. In Cuba free white and colored laborers sat side by side drinking it along with their meal in bodegas which were small shops scattered about the back streets in urban centers. In rural nineteenth century Cuba enslaved Africans made culinary inventions from the extra “measure of rum,” their master’s doled out during the Christmas holidays. Here are recipes for rum cake which is very popular around the Christmas holiday.

Various Caribbean Rum cakes recipes: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/810171/yummy-rum-cake-recipes-1

Mexican Rum cookies and cake recipes: http://mexicanamericanbordercooking.blogspot.com/2010/04/rum-cake-cookies.html

Vegan Cuban Rum cake recipe: http://www.veganrepresent.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7430

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