Today, February 6th, is Bob Marley's birthday and it would have been his 64th. I thought today would be appropriate to investigate Rastafarian Cuisine, also known as Ital (from vital). The Ital diet adheres to Biblical guidelines, mostly Genesis, Deuteronomy, and especially Leviticus. Ital dietary guidlines are, like anything else, open to many different interpretations.
At it's core, Rastafarian diets are essentially composed of foods that are fresh and natural; avoiding chemicals, additives, coloring, flavoring, and preservatives. Most Rastafarians also do not consume coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, or even Western medicines.
Herbs, however, are GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe: an FDA term). Many Rastafarians are vegetarian, but those who do not abstain from all meat generally avoid pork, shellfish, and often red meat. Those who do eat fish, generally avoid fish more than 12 inches long.
Most also take measures to avoid consuming metal. In order to avoid metal, some Rastafarians avoid cooking and serving food in metal vessels, and some even avoid metal eating utensils. For the same reason, some also avoid foods that have been canned.
Many avoid preparing food with salt and/or oil. What's left you ask? The bulk of their diet consists of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I found this recipe on Jamiacans.com:
ITAL SWEET POTATO PUDDING
- 1lb 8ozs to 1lb 14ozs sweet potato (I used 1lb 14ozs in this Pudding)
- 3 cups coconut milk
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 ½tsp vanilla essence
- 1 to 1 ¼4 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups soaked raisins (I have mine soaked in Sherry for over 5 years now. I top it off with more Raisins, Prunes and Sherry every time it gets too low in the bottle.)
- ½ - 1 cup flour (More or less flour will make it firmer or less so I used half a cup)
- 5ozs Beet Root or Carrots (optional)
- Puree sweet potato and coconut milk in blender
- Pour mixture into a bowl
- Dice beet root
- Add all the ingredients to the bowl. Mix and pour into a well greased 8" or 10" round tin
(vegetable shortening to grease the tin)
- Bake at 350F for 1 ½ hours then 300F for 25 mins
- Remove from the oven immediately.
- Best eaten the next day or at least 5 hours after cooking.
And this book, specifically on Rastafarian Cuisine.