I’m obsessed with cooking. Practicing and preparing food for events is the perfect opportunity to test, re-test and sometimes reconfigure recipes to introduce to you. My latest obsession is griot – a sweet and sour braised (and sometimes, fried) pork dish seasoned with citrus juices, spices and hot pepper. For as long as I can remember though, I’ve wondered how griot got its name.
Long before my introduction to African history, griot to me, was the dish of quiet Sunday dinners and big, loud, boozy Haitian weddings – uncles and aunts dancing close to zouk, the smell of scented rice and beans in the air and cousins sneaking sips of rhum from the unattended glasses of elders.
Historically-speaking, griots are the poets, musicians, storytellers and historians of West Africa cultures. For centuries, griots have been the curators of African oral history. And, while the historical connection of Haiti and Africa are obvious, it wasn’t until I came across the following did the griot connection make sense.
“There are a lot of flavors going on in the meal. Like the African minstrels of its namesake, griot is a storyteller. It sings a harmony of dissonant notes: the pungent head of the jalapeños, the sour and sweet penetrating acidity of the citrus, the richness of the pork and its satisfying brown coat.” – Ari Le Vaux
So perfectly put!