Cooking on Island Time

Tasty Travel

Destination: Bahamas

Book: Living Off the Land and Sea by Karen Goodfellow

By Brette Sember

East Winds Inn, St. Lucia, Caribbean
East Winds Inn, St. Lucia, Caribbean, photo by VMB (Not the Bahamas)

I’ve got a thing about the Caribbean. I love islands. I adore the feeling of being surrounded on all sides by water, and having sand all the way around. The colors of the water are like art to me. The warm air, the comfortable breeze, the palm trees, and the laid back lifestyle are a siren song.

The beach is one of the big draws, but the food is pretty high up on my list. It is amazing to get to eat freshly caught seafood and enjoy tropical fruits and all the flavors of the Caribbean. I always feel so much healthier when I come from a trip after eating seafood and fruit for days, and having walked on the beach, sat in the sun, and swum each day.

Caribbean breakfast
Caribbean breakfast

One of my favorite destinations is the Bahamas. There’s so much to see outside of Nassau and the man-made cement fortress that is Atlantis. The less commercialized areas of the island have empty beaches, lush greenery, and a feeling of seclusion you won’t find on a waterslide. Venture towards the west and visit Goodfellow Farm, where transplants from Toronto, Canada started an organic farm which soon became a produce shop and restaurant.

Postcard from Goodfellows' Farm
Postcard from Goodfellows’ Farm

We visited Goodfellow Farm while in the Bahamas and bought an amazing lunch of soups and sandwiches made from the bounty on the farm. It was one of the best meals we ate on the island.

Goodfellows' Farm  store
Goodfellows’ Farm store

I browsed the shop and came across owner Karen Goodfellow’s cookbook, Living Off the Land and Sea (available through the Goodfellow site). I brought it home and read through from cover to cover. The book starts with the story of how she and her husband moved to the Bahamas and began their farm and gradually expanded it.

Goodfellows' cookbookThis is more than just a cookbook though, it’s a complete guide to buying and cooking island food. How to buy and store fish and the substitutions you will need to make if cooking on an island are included as well general cooking tips. You know you’ve got a cookbook from islands when there are entire chapters devoted to grouper, conch, hog fish, spiny lobster, mahi mahi, shrimp and snapper, which explain each fish and how best to use it. The focus truly is on foods from the land and sea that you would find in the Caribbean – there are no meat recipes in this book, which is telling. You will find recipes for pasta and rice (like coconut rice), sauces (carambola chutney), vegetables (curried carrots), and desserts (breadfruit muffins, guava upside down cake) in addition to the wealth of fish recipes. Each recipe is made with ingredients you can grow, catch, or find on the islands.

When you page through this book, you really can imagine yourself living in the Caribbean and making do with just the fish and produce that are readily available there. This is the book I’ll take with me when I whittle my belongings down to a few suitcases and run away to the islands!

Honey Basil Grilled Mahi Mahi

6 Mahi steaks

1 ½ cups raspberry vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup honey

¼ cup chopped basil

1 teaspoon thyme


Place steaks in a baking dish. In a small bowl combine the vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, honey, and herbs. Mix well. Pour mixture over steaks and marinate 1 to 4 hours, turning twice. Heat grill to hot. Remove steaks from marinade and grill for 3 to 5 minutes a side. Pour marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil and reduce by ½. Pour heated sauce over grilled steaks and serve. Serves 6.

The top two photos are by Vera Marie Badertscher. The others are from the Goodfellow Farm website, used with their permission.  Please do not reproduce any photographs without express permission. Thank you.

Do you have a favorite island destination? What’s your favorite island food?

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

4 thoughts on “Cooking on Island Time

  1. It has been a long time since I’ve been in the Caribbean, but my memories are of very relaxed mornings, which was a very nice way to awaken to the day.

  2. My sister and I were talking about guava last night. Apparently is a pretty good superfood. Good even for the skin, I was surprised to learn. To echo what was said in this post, the best part of living on an island, apart from the sea being always close by, is getting fresh food. We have a small garden and can walk outside and pick mangoes, oranges, june plums, fresh mint, bananas, tomatoes, coconuts, breadfruit, and a bounty of fruits. And whatever we don’t have, our neighbors, family or friends will share. I haven’t bought orange or any other juice in months. It is the life!
    I’ll definitely check the bookstore for the Goodfellow’s book. Thanks!

  3. Since my ONLY Caribbean Island is St. Lucia, I have to say it is my favorite, but something tells me it would continue to be my favorite even with more exposure to other islands. Food–AHHHH! fresh fish, rum cake, tropical fruit and grilled everything. I love Brette’s idea–take this cookbook when you run away to the islands!

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