The Way to My Heart is Through My Stomach

We just arrived back in Ann Arbor late last night, and I’m already missing Grenada! We had a great week working with Grenada Planned Parenthood Association and speaking with people of all ages across the island. I know I will remember this experience forever and have learned a lot of things I will take with me as I continue working in public health!

One thing I can’t easily forget is some of the delicious food I had in Grenada. While many of my meals were not especially memorable, I did discover a few culinary gems. The first is guava cheese. Despite the name, it’s not actually cheese or any type of dairy. It’s more like a gelatinous candy – made from guava, sugar, and water. I ate a whole block of it during the week and then went back to the market to buy more to bring home!

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Guava cheese

The second food item I fell in love with is nutmeg ice cream. I am generally not super adventurous with ice cream flavors, so I was hesitant to try it but boy was I glad I did! It went fabulously with the homemade lemon cake we had at Mr. Dave Alexander’s house. Mr. Alexander is a Drug Control Officer with the Drug Control Secretariat, and he was kind enough to invite us over for dinner one night. His wife made lemon cake for dessert and it was heavenly! Lemon cake and nutmeg ice cream is a delicious combination.

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Nutmeg ice cream

Some other food highlights included: bananas (smaller and more flavorful than they are in the US), pumpkin soup, lambi fritters, and callaloo bread (made from a leafy vegetable – it goes great with guava jam!).

Of course, any discussion of food in Grenada would not be complete without mentioning the CHOCOLATE. During our tour on Sunday, we went to The Grenada Chocolate Company, a cooperative of cocoa farmers and chocolate makers that produces organic dark chocolate from “tree-to-bar.” They offered an array of choices, including something called “Salty-licious” that combined Caribbean sea salt with 71% dark chocolate. Swoon!

Grenada found itself a place in my heart – not just because of the food, but also because of the people. Everyone we worked with this week was so warm, open, and generous. I hope that the work we did can help move this project forward so that Grenada Planned Parenthood Association can gather the data it needs to continue its important work. As someone who likes to see projects through until the end, it is difficult for me to pass this project on. However, I know the University of Illinois at Chicago students, and the summer intern after them, will do a great job!

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