Bon Appetit: Bonaire Treats

Traditional meal preparation

By: Leah Wessler

During the hours leading up to the student and staff cooking party, no one was more excited than the research station dog, Dushi. The aroma of stewing meat wafted through the station and led Dushi to pace the halls, whining for a taste of the kabritu stoba, a traditional Bonairean goat stew. The begging fervor increased as students began cutting vegetables to grill and staff boiled black-eyed peas for tutu, a sweet bean paste with onions and spices. A few cooks chopped green papaya into bite-sized cubes to be stewed in the kabritu stoba dish.

At the end of the work day, the CIEE crew convened at the Residence Hall to socialize and continue meal preparation. The usually quiet hall rang with sizzling food, chopping knives, and conversation punctuated by laughter. Some were mixing batter for pancakes made with sorghum flour, called repas, and others flipped the pancakes on the stove while sugared plantain with shredded coconut baked in the oven. Tamarind pulp bubbled in a pot, soon to be jam for repa garnish. The tutu team first attempted to create paste in a blender, but when unsuccessful, they reverted to using potato mashers and kneading by hand. The cooks then molded the tutu into fish and coral shapes to evoke a marine party theme. As the kabritu stoba cooled and dishes were placed together on the serving table, the staff and students gathered to appreciate the array of colors and smells of the food they had created together. The CIEE crew piled their plates high and settled down for a feast washed down by fresh limeade and good company. That night, Dushi dreamt of a bathtub filled with kabritu stoba leftovers.

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