Retired Jamaican public servant and author of “A Caribbean Mom’s Table,” Dorel M. Callender (2nd left), displays her newly-launched cookbook while posing for a photograph with (L-R) Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, Stephen Vasciannie; director of the Columbus Memorial Library at Organization of American States (OAS), Beverly Wharton-Lake; and Canada’s permanent representative to the OAS, Ambassador Allan Culham, during the launch of Callendar’s book at the OAS Columbus Memorial Library, in Washington DC, Thursday, October 3.
By Derrick A. Scott
WASHINGTON, USA -- Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, Stephen Vasciannie, hailing “A Caribbean Mom’s Table,” the new Caribbean cookbook by retired international public servant Dorel Callender, noted its unique glimpses into the Caribbean and its people, tying in cuisine with social, cultural, and other aspects of the region’s history and development.
Speaking at the book launch held at the Columbus Memorial Library at Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington DC, on Thursday, October 3, Vasciannie gave an overview of the approximately 200 traditional and modern Caribbean dishes and beverages covered in the book by the Jamaican-born Callendar, an OAS retiree. It presents a wide array of delectable multicultural dishes enjoyed by peoples of the region and beyond.
Over the past 500 years, when the islands were visited by conquerors, explorers, buccaneers, pirates, traders and missionaries from countries in other parts of the world, they contributed their foods, spices and cooking methods, which over time have been melded and combined to become a bold, unique, and distinctively delicious Caribbean cuisine.
Discussing the background and context to her book, Callender explained its purpose of the book: to preserve Caribbean cuisine and help pass on this part of the Caribbean culture to the younger generation.
She said it conveys centuries-old traditional Caribbean dishes, some dating back to the region’s indigenous peoples as well as African slaves, combined with the use of 21st century cooking techniques and facilities to offer an array of new modern dishes. The array of new modern dishes and drinks draw on a wide array of Caribbean fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices.
Callender is a career public servant, serving both nationally and internationally. She worked for the governments of Canada and Jamaica and headed the first Economic Division of Jamaica's Foreign Ministry. She also represented the government in numerous international meetings and events and was the first woman to serve on the Board of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). While serving as advisor to the OAS Secretary General for 15 years, she coordinated that institution's assistance to the Caribbean.
The book launch was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Permanent Representatives to the OAS, nationals from various Caribbean countries, Canada and the United States.