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A Special Haitian Meal

Family, friendship and amazing food . . .

I was lucky enough to be with members of the Bruno family recently, which culminated in a special home cooked Haitian meal. In Bethlehem Ministry’s effort to bring Haiti to you, we are happy to provide cooking videos from that day just in time for the month of May, which is Haitian Heritage Month. A huge thank you to the Bruno Family, especially Rachel Bruno, for making this possible. Haitian cuisine is a Creole cuisine that is a blend of several culinary styles, namely African, French, indigenous Taino and Spanish. 

I arrived hours before the big meal was served, but they had already been prepping and cooking. Rachel Bruno was the head chef for the day and my primary instructor - she has been cooking since she was a very little girl and in fact learned to pluck a chicken when she was ten! Yikes! First, Rachel showed me how to make Epis, which is a sauce essential to Haitian cuisine.

The dish that was already cooking when I arrived was Legume, which is similar to a stew. Despite its name, it usually includes a protein, but does also have a lot of vegetables in it and of course uses Epis for flavoring! I learned that Legume cannot be rushed - cooking it is an all day affair.

The most fun thing to make was the Fried Plantains, especially the step that involves smashing the pieces of plantain (hint, one trick to the Fried Plantains is double frying them).

Rachel then took some of the pork meat from the Legume pot and fried it, which is called Griot. Delicious! Both the Fried Plantains and Griot are best eaten when they have cooled just below the “impossibly hot to eat” point so there was a lot of snacking before the food made it to the table. A meal like this is as much about the preparation and sense of community as the finale of eating the meal itself. That entire day the kitchen was filled with family coming and going through the kitchen, stories and jokes, as well as the aroma of food cooking. You will probably not be surprised to learn that one thing that was not present were any written recipes - all of these dishes are prepared from memory and based on tradition, and are varied to accommodate the tastes of the household and available ingredients. In addition to Legume, Fried Plantains and Griot, the meal included white rice and Sòs Pwa (a black bean dish). It was all delicious and I was thankful to be welcomed into their kitchen for the day. We hope you feel transported to the Bruno kitchen for the day when you watch these!    

With Gratitude,

Rennae Henry

Executive Director


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