Jamaican-American foodie Briana Riddock who operates the blog seasoningbottle.com. Briana loves to cook, think, and write about food. She is currently finishing a Masters in Food Studies at New York University where she is examining the modern food system. Here is our conversation with Briana Riddock.
What is your connection to Jamaica?
Both of my parent were born and raised in Jamaica. My father came to the States for college and my mother had come to the States when she was in 4th or 5th grade. Most of my aunts on my dad’s side still live in Jamaica with my cousins. We are very close, they practically raised us from afar. They always checked in and if we needed anything, they always provided.
Having Jamaican heritage has been a part of my identity and connection to food. The complexity of the cultural makeup of Jamaican fascinates me from Indigenous people to Africans, Indians, and Chinese immigrants to the country that create the national dishes that I adore. I am very proud to have Jamaican blood.
How did you become a foodie?
I always had a natural connection to food. I was obsessed with the Food Network as a child. I loved Emeril for his bold Cajun style cooking. I was amazed by him, he seemed to know everything! I had an easy bake oven as a child also, so I experimented with that.
Tell us about your blog?
I started my blog out of college in between time while looking for a job! I was home a lot and cooked dinner for my mother so she would not have to when she got off work. I started documenting the recipes and borrowed my brother’s point and shoot camera to take the pictures. Most of the recipe have a Caribbean influence and Southern influence since I am from the South, Atlanta, Georgia.
Are you working on any new projects?
Right now I am in the middle of finishing my Master’s degree from New York University in Food Studies. I focused on food media and food and culture. We explore the American food system and agriculture as well. I would like to write about food, develop recipes, and cater small dinner parties. I will be abroad in Paris conducting research for my thesis project and I am very excited about that.
What are some emerging food trends that you’re noticing?
I think in this fast pace world people want to cook more but don’t have the time and lack basic cooking knowledge. I see companies that make cooking easier for consumers that want a home cooked meal, that is also healthy on the rise. We have a lot of mail delivery services that ship ingredients to you with cooking instruction for a meal you can prepare yourself at home.
What would you cook at home if you were just making a laid-back dinner?
Rice and chicken! I love white rice, can’t get enough of it. A simple sauteed chicken with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a handful freshly chopped herbs is laid back for me!
What is your favorite type of food and how often do you eat out?
Of course I love Jamaican food, but I recently fell in love with Thai food when I traveled to Thailand with a group of my closest friends. We took a Thai cooking class and I really like green curry. Since I live in New York, I eat out a lot! More than I ever have before. There is such a wide variety of cuisines here that you can nearly find anything that you are craving. I like to pick cuisine theme with my girls and we find a restaurant to serves it. We recently went to a Brazilian restaurant and had feijoado which is a stew with black beans beef and pork. It reminded me Jamaican stew peas.
What is your favorite Jamaican meal?
Curry chicken! And I love my curry the best! My mom’s version is a close second.
What foods do you stay way from?
I don’t like many game meat, gizzards, liver, or chitterlings.
If you were on a desert island and you could have one food what would it be?
Rice with gravy!
A movie you never get tired of watching….
Paid in Full!
Growing your hero was…
My mom, she work so hard to provide for my borther, sister and I. We bumped heads a lot, but now that I am older I realized she was just being the best mom she could be. And also my Aunt Judy in Jamaica. I loved visiting her in the summer time. She always took great care of my siblings and I.
Thanks for your time. Any closing words?
Thanks for the feature! I just want to tell people that cooking is approachable and doable! Start with a few recipes that you like and cook them until you know it very well and move on to new recipes. You will start to understand with flavors and seasonings work well with each other.