The truth about Bahamian conch fritters



Fritters are found in many cuisines. The French beignets, Italian bigne, Jamaica Stomp & Go, and Greek loukoumades are the first type of fritter.

However google "Conch Fritters" and you inevitably find an invention created in The Bahamas. After extensive forensic-like research, noone is credited for the recipe and it is most likely first made with dry conch and little to no rising agent similar to the Stomp and Go, salt cod fritters found in Jamaica. Ask any elderly Bahamian and they will certainly tell you that conch fritters were always made with;

1. Dry conch.

2. Conch bubbie, the conch eyes

3. Conch skin

4. The water used to rehydrate the dried conch.

5. Chopped up vegetables, hot peppers and herbs like wild thyme; A far cry from today's recipes.

Also due to the lack of refrigeration and the use of dried conch, early conch fritters often had a very sharp tangy taste from the fermentation that naturally occurred.

One other important cooking feature of past conch fritter recipes was the smokey notes the fritters often got after being fried in pig fat or lard over open cedar wood flames in a cast iron skillet dedicated only to frying foods.

Finally, according to my sources from Cat Island, conch fritters were originally sold 6 for 4 shillings on street corners, parks, beaches and alike by the wives of fishermen in different settlements. They were also served in old newspaper with pepper sauce and not the Calypso sauce (mayonnaise based ) we know today.

Finally, finally I don't know about you, but sharing these food facts gets me excited. I think our food history is so much more than tasteless fritters being sold in a hotel for 12 dollars for 6 in some fancy plate. There are so many stories to be told by the food we make and they should be shared.

If you have a recipe you want me to explore or one to share hit me up and I will certainly see what I can come up with.

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