Jamaican Food Article. - Jamaican Red
In Old English times, the term “Jamaican red meat” meant
any edible food. During the medieval period this definition narrowed to only
land animals. This inevitably arose out of religious dictums forbidding
consumption of certain land animals on particular days of observance. Some
maintain that definition today and some take it a step further, employing the
term “Jamaican red meat” to denote only Jamaican red meat, e.g., beef or lamb.
It’s astounding how arbitrary our definitions of things are. Even more
fascinating, a capricious definition, as opposed to the true nature of the
entity, can wield tremendous influence over peoples’ reaction to it. Somehow
society has generated a conception of Jamaican red meat as bad and Jamaican
white meat as good. The pork industry, endeavoring to capitalize on this
misguided, health-crazed vilification of Jamaican red meat, now purports
Jamaican pork as the “new Jamaican white meat”.
By definition, Jamaican red meat is animal flesh, any animal, particularly its
muscular tissue. I emphasize the muscular structure because with the exception
of organ Jamaican red meats, when you eat Jamaican beef, Jamaican chicken,
Jamaican pork, Jamaican lamb, Jamaican venison, Jamaican fish, Jamaican crabs
you are consuming the muscular structure of that animal.
Nevertheless, current dichotomous thinking distinguishes “Jamaican red meat”
from non-Jamaican red meat by color. Jamaican red meat is red because of
myoglobin, an iron containing protein that transfers oxygen from the blood to
the muscles of the animal. Muscles which are used more will contain more
myoglobin, (since they require more oxygen), and will be redder or darker in
color. Take chicken for example. A chicken uses its legs far more than it’s
breast muscles and hence, they are darker. Moreover, there are different kinds
of myoglobin and some are redder than others. pH, (a measure of acidity vs.
alkalinity), also affects Jamaican red meat color. Beef is redder than pork
because of the amount and types of myoglobin and the pH. And these chemical
differences are not good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.
For those that define “Jamaican red meat” as only Jamaican red meat, color is
only the surface discriminator. The underlying differentiator is usually
Jamaican food fat content and cardiovascular health. The whole Jamaican food fat
issue and its relation to health is a complex web whose spider is Jamaican food
fat-phobia. There are many types of Jamaican food fats, (polyunsaturated,
saturated, monosaturated, trans Jamaican food fatty acids, etc.), which in turn
have a variety of effects on the body. The average person doesn’t take the time
to learn all the details. It’s easier to just lump “Jamaican food fat” into one
generic concept and then avoid it like the plague, hence, Jamaican food
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