January 22, 2022

Arunachal Front

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Haitian “Soup Jumo”, a historical dish with a taste of freedom

Posted on Monday, January 03, 2022 at 10:39 AM.

Combining meat, vegetables, pasta and giraffe squash, it got its name from the “soup zumo” that was previously banned for slaves, marking the independence of their country by Haitians on January 1 each year.

Listed as a World Heritage Site, this soup has long been synonymous with repression on the Caribbean island: however, many of the slaves who cultivated the squash needed for its preparation lost it, and its flavor is reserved for French garden masters.

But when the first black republic was born on January 1, 1804, Mary-Claire Huerse Felicidae, the wife of Jean-Jacques Tessalins, the leader of the first Haiti, chose to serve this dish in moderation.

Cooking “Soup Zumo” says, “This is a sign of victory over the years of scarcity, oppression and colonialism.”

“This is the weight of this soup,” he says seriously.

Traditionally, this dish is a meeting time for families. For many, however, this reunion has been complicated this year.

– Insecurity –

In 2021, after witnessing the assassination of its president, Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake. Political unrest and poverty have intensified, as well as villainous kidnappings and the work of gangs have all become more powerful.

Insecurity and the inability to use roads protected by armed gangs are forcing many Haitians to spend the New Year with their loved ones.

“I have friends at university, their parents do not live in Port-au-Prince and they cannot join the provinces because of the security situation,” explains Stephanie Smith, a student in the capital. “So I call them!”

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His mother, Rosmeen Dorsius, often prepares “soup jumo” for his family, but every national holiday, he prepares whole pots.

Feeding enough for “about twenty people” makes this 54-year-old Haitian humble, while at the same time thinking that his daughter can sustain the size of thirty guests.

“There are eight of us in my family, but unfortunately, in the neighborhood, there are people who can’t make soup, so we think about them,” explains the 27-year-old.

Work in the kitchen begins the day before, just before sunrise on January 1, when the ladies of the family are busy around the stove.

Rosmin Dorsius recalled that when the children were young, she and her husband were making soup together. “Now that my daughters have grown up, they are helping me,” he said.

Stephanie Smith, who was delighted to share these products with the family, says that “even if they mainly go for tasting, especially for meat”, she is helped a little by her younger brothers, and the young woman smiles.

– “Tradition of our ancestors” –

The soup with its rich history has gained international recognition and has been elevated to the level of the extraordinary heritage of mankind by UNESCO.

“Haiti’s struggle and its voice are invisible, and today’s a way to record it,” says Dominic Dubois, Haiti’s ambassador to UNESCO, recalling “the most fundamental and most important role in Haiti’s human history.” The first country to abolish slavery.

The dedication of “Soup Jumo” is, according to him, a “mere historical correction”.

His representatives made every effort to include it in the register, demanding that the file process be expedited in August. On December 16, he finally got an excellent score.

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As 2021 was an “exceptionally painful year,” we needed “ways to help lift our heads,” begs a Cape Haidian man who mourns the death of a tanker truck that killed 90 people on December 14. .

In Haiti, cooking “soup zumo” is a two-century-old tradition that honors your country and its past.

According to Natalie Kardashian, it is a way of inviting the world to “discover the history of Haiti” and a way of showing how “we are so proud to fit in with the heritage of our ancestors”.