This week a patient and I discussed New Years holiday cuisine. I mentioned making corn bread, collard greens and black eyed peas, which she dismissed as “American.” She is of Haitian descent, told me about Haitian pumpkin soup, and explained that slaves were not allowed to have this delicious soup, a favorite of French slave masters. On January 1, 1804 when Haiti gained freedom from France, they celebrated with music and food, including the soup they were unable to eat as slaves. This “soup of freedom” is what Haitians traditionally eat on January 1.
Because I want authentic, my patient selected the recipe on epicurious.com. My modifications: To keep it vegetarian, using gardein beefless tips; to keep it authentic using calabaza vs. butternut squash, and yucca in place of potatoes. I thought pasta should be omitted, then was corrected with the explanation that pasta is traditional in the dish, and rigatoni is the best shaped pasta to approximate island style.
I am excited to begin this new food tradition and have the ingredients gathered for some kitchen puttering tomorrow. Stay tuned for the finished product!