Words by Natalie Goode-Henry

When I married my best friend four years ago, I not only gained a new family, but a Caribbean culture to go along with it. My husband’s Guyanese culture is punctuated with every family get together of reggae blasting through speakers, warm roti, chow mein and beef patties on the serving table beside salara and black cake waiting to satisfy my sweet tooth.

But it is my mother-in-law’s holiday dish of Pepperpot that has me (and my hubby) salivating around this time each year. Pepperpot is stewed pork or beef seasoned with cinnamon, a special cassava root sauce and Caribbean hot sauces. After letting the stew simmer on the stove for 45 minutes, to allow the mixture to become potent, my mom-in-law serves the dish with white rice and dense Guyanese-style bread.

The bread should be thick enough to sop up all the stew’s shredded pork (or beef) for it to be drowned in all its combined flavors. Nom nom.

In contrast to my mom’s Americanized holiday meals–Christmas ham, baked mac and cheese and sweet potato pie–that are no less delicious, but are easily recreated.

My mother-in-law’s Guyanese-style Pepperpot isn’t.