A Bite of Barbados: Bread-and-Two
I blame my mother. Although I grew up in England and Jamaica, she made sure to introduce me to the culinary delights of her Bajan homeland: coconut-laced sweetbread; unctuous cassava pone; pan-fried flying fish; and my favorite, the tangy pickled pork dish, souse. But I’d never even heard of “bread-and-two” until this summer. Shame on you, Mummy.
Bread-and-two is a sandwich made from chewy salt bread (which, curiously, tastes slight sweet) and deep-fried cod fish cakes, of which there are, you guessed it, two. You can find them all over, from gas stations to roadside stands, but I was treated to “the best fish cakes on the island” (according to my hosts, villa company Blue Sky Luxury), from Carlos’ food truck, which rolls up to their offices in St. Peter every day.
When BSL’s Kathy-Dawn arrived that morning with her paper-bagged bounty in tow, our group was already reeling from the sumptuous three-course Bajan-British breakfast we’d only just finished enjoying, elegantly presented and skillfully served on the breezy terrace of our plush five-bedroom spread at Queen’s Fort 10 (yep, villa living has its perks). As we pushed our chairs back from the table we patted our rounded bellies, swore we couldn’t eat another bite, and solemnly vowed to skip lunch. But it’s amazing what a bread-and-two can do.
K-D peeled open the paper bags to reveal puffy stuffed rolls, their tops teetering valiantly as if to prevent the deep-fried fish battered fish balls from rolling out and into our by-this-time salivating mouths. The bottom halves of bread were spread with a slick of Bajan pepper sauce, sunshine-yellow and innocent to the eye, incendiary on the tongue. We took our first bites. Silence. We took a second bite. Silence again, but this time followed by an appreciative eye roll heavenward, much smacking of the lips, and a furtive glance at the plate to see how just how many pieces remained. Instantly seduced by the hot crispy fish and the flavorful zing of pepper sauce tempered by pillows of soft bread, resistance was futile. We tucked into those B&Ts as if it’d been days, not five minutes since our last meal, the crumb-strewn plate a testament to our greed and Carlos’ culinary skill.
Staggering out to our waiting bus we were stuffed to the gills but ready for a day of sightseeing. Our packed agenda promised plantation tours, rum tasting, and possible monkey sightings. But who knew: Maybe there’d be time for a quick bread-and-two break on the way back home?