Canadian DYK: Nova Scotia has an African food subculture

Wendie Wilson (Poitras) is a champion of African-Nova Scotian fusion cuisine

Photo Via Ross Dunn on Flickr

African Nova Scotians make up the largest racially visible group in Nova Scotia. They represent 44 per cent of the racially visible population which constitutes 2.3 per cent of the total Nova Scotia population. African Nova Scotians have a history that goes back to the earliest years of the province over 400 years ago, when Nova Scotia promised a better life for immigrants fleeing slavery in the United States. Even with this fact, people may not be familiar with a lesser known part of Nova Scotian culture, African Nova Scotian cuisine. This is partly due to years of forced assimilation, but one Halifax woman is trying to regain the knowledge that has been lost over the years. 

According to Wendie Wilson (Poitras), during her childhood, due to a lack of Afro-Caribbean spices and ingredients, they would have to spice up traditional East Coast meals the best they could with what they have. For example, her family would follow the tradition of a boiled dinner, but would replace the typical corned beef with pigtails, a common ingredient for those living in the southern United States. Another dish that falls under the category of what she calls "African Nova Scotian cuisine" is salt cod fish cakes with curry mayonnaise. Of course, salt cod is a classic Nova Scotian meal, but with the curry mayonnaise, the African Nova Scotian influence becomes evident. 

Thanks to Wendie Wilson (Poitras) for her knowledge in regards to this piece.