From the Cornish pasty of the English and the Puerto Rican pastelillos to the South Asian samosa and the spanakopita of Greece, almost all the regions or countries in the world have their own form of patties.
In the same way, Jamaica has its own popular Jamaican Pattie, one of its most famous, affordable and widely accessible comfort foods. But where did it originate from? To find out, read this brief piece about the Jamaican Pattie’s history.
A lot of food historians and culinary experts consider the Jamaican Pattie to be a derived form of the Cornish pasty. Circulating between routes like East Africa, England and the Caribbean islands, the Cornish ships, sailors and merchants from the 17th century traded in slaves, sugar, spices etc.
The local habitants adopted the Pattie from the Cornish, added some of their own flavours, tastes and ingredients. They moulded the Pattie to suit their own palate, developing it into an everyday delicacy. After slavery was officially abolished from the North American region, bonded labourers of Chinese and Indian origins brought their own influences to the Jamaican Pattie in the form of various spices.
It won’t be wrong to say that the Jamaican Pattie is a reflection of Jamaican history, its people and their traditions. It may have colonial origins, being a derivative of the Cornish pasty, but that doesn’t mean that the local populace didn’t leave any impressions on it.
Soon after its introduction by the British colonialists, the Indian and African origin people also present in the Caribbean enhanced the Pattie’s outlook, its flavour, ingredients and the overall finishing.
After a while, Jamaicans began incorporating common ingredients like scotch bonnet chilli pepper, which is one of the most common parts of Jamaican recipes, transforming it into one of their most popular lunch-time foods.
The Global Effect
When the global economy become more liberalised in the 60s and 70s, more and more Jamaican people immigrated to the developed regions like Canada, America and the UK, taking the patties along with them.
Today, there’s no West Indian or Jamaican restaurant, bakery or grocery store in these diverse countries, where you won’t find a good Jamaican Pattie. The Jamaican diaspora in global cities like London, New York etc. have embraced their native their native food in such a way that people of other backgrounds have increasingly been interested in it.
Inside the Caribbean, patties make up the ultimate street food across the islands. This is because of the fact that they’re always served warm, they’re inexpensive, taste great and have a diverse range of spicy fillings like chicken, goat, ground beef, ackee, the National fruit of Jamaica, shrimp, lobster, pork etc. Sandwiched between the two pieces of coco-bread, the carb-loaded Jamaican Pattie is a delicious, filling breakfast and an excellent, fast-food stand-in for lunch or dinner.
With the bonnet pepper seasoning giving that spicy zing, the Pattie becomes more than just a snack. It is so popular among the masses that there are dedicated, drive-through restaurants that deal specifically in this fast food.