Jerk salmon and no cultural appropriation


I try not to get too political about stuff on social media. There would be so much to get upset about in the world but I don't usually want to go there because there are happier options, like posting pictures of cats and dogs and food. But as the topic is close to my heart I will comment on the made-up controversy about Jamie Oliver's Jerk Rice A.K.A the "let's beat Jamie Oliver over the head with something because everybody likes him, he makes way too much money, has a loving wife and too many cutely named children" bullying debacle.

Jerk salmon with dried thyme and lime
Jerk salmon. Oops.
I won't repeat the whole story here. Feel free to google Jamie Oliver and cultural appropriation. But basically he has made some Caribbean inspired rice and called it Jerk Rice. Shocking.

You don't have to walk many supermarket isles to get in a cultural appropriation huff if you are that way inclined, so it's surprising and unfair he get's this much heat. I think some people really need to chill a bit.

But if you disagree feel free to sue me for putting moose in a pastitsio, reindeer in a biryani and generally doing things to rice that should never be done to rice. Ask husband and he will testify. "Prison food" he will say brandishing his rice cooker. (He doesn't understand the concept of risotto, but only recognises middle-eastern style fluffy rice. He can be such a ricist sometimes.) Or how about the Mexican moose lasagne or Greek moose burgers. Did I manage to appropriate several cultures in one swift culinary move. How about smoked reindeer gnocchi anyone. Or is that more about just food murder than appropriation.

As a representative of a very small and historically continuously oppressed nation I might not be qualified to appropriate anyway. But let's go with this.

Brown rice with cocnut milk, spring onion and crayfish
Coconut rice with spring onion and crayfish
I have called my lamb kleftiko "authentic" which of course it is not. I put a bit of lime and coriander in something and call it Mexican. Never even been to Mexico. A few weeks ago I made "jerk chicken" using a ready spice mix and cooked the meat in the oven instead of a fire pit or oil drum. I won't even mention the rasta pasta which probably thoroughly offended an entire religion let alone a food culture.

Which makes me think, is it cultural appropriation for a white girl to have rasta hair? Or how much cultural appropriation is at this very moment happening in Notting Hill. But I will stick to food - otherwise this will get too complicated.

And there are more more Jerk related sins I need to get off my chest. Last weekend I made jerk salmon. If there had been a labour MP around they would have been able to tell me that salmon is a cold water fish and not acceptable to combine with the word jerk. I'm lucky that our guest with Jamaican roots, a very dear friend and a wonderful person, understood my good intentions of making him feel welcome and appreciated by using tastes and spices that might appeal to him. We all often like smells and tastes that we have grown up with, was my thinking. To gild my cultural appropriation lily I served the jerk salmon with coconut and crayfish rice and a green salad with mango.

The difference here is of course, I am not making money from my food experiments and enjoyment of tastes and inspiration from around our wonderful world. Sadly envy and resentment enter when a boy from Essex gets a bit too successful for the general liking.
Green salad with mango and lime dressing
Mango green salad with a lime dressing
I wish all the best to poor Jamie, who seems to just rub some people the wrong way whatever he does. As for me, I will continue with my scandalous ways, I will cook the jerk salmon again, because it was really good, I will put reindeer and moose wherever the hell I like and will continue to experiment with ideas and flavours from around our beautiful world which none of us own.

So here is the recipe with a self made totally unauthentic jerk mix, but feel free to use a ready made one, some of them are really good. And of course barbecuing the salmon will only make it more lovely.

Culturally inappropriate appropriated jerk salmon with love and respect to the wonderful Caribbean inspiration on the flavours of the culinary world

Side of salmon
3 tbsp jerk spice mix
1-2 tsp dried thyme
Zest of a lime or lemon
Vegetable oil

Debone the fish and pat dry with a paper kitchen towel. Season with the jerk seasoning, dried thyme and a little bit of salt, be careful as there is some salt in the jerk mix. Zest a lemon or a lime on top of the fillet and drizzle with some oil. Bake for 25-30 minute or until the salmon is done. Serve with anything you think appropriate and don't worry about people who are ready to judge you.

Jerk seasoning mix (as per Jo Cooks):

1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried parsley

You Might Also Like