Consultations Commence for Publication of an SKN Cultural Cookbook

Consultations have started about the cookbook.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Opening the public discussion on the culturally relevant dishes of St. Kitts and Nevis was the task of a Core Committee of 12 people that met for the first time at the Ministry of Creative Economy’s Conference Room on April 17, 2024.

Consultations have started about the cookbook.

The group was brought together by the Department of Creative Economy in collaboration with the Nutrition Unit in the Ministry of Health to serve as the first consultation concerning
collecting recipes that will be included in a cultural cookbook. The group will also take the
lead in organizing the publication and the initial dissemination of the book as well as facilitate the use of this culinary narrative.

Director of Culture Pierre Liburd gave an overview of the project noting that several
consultations will help to decide on the recipes of dishes that are relevant to the traditional
culinary feature of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. He identified the cultural dishes as
being part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Federation.

Nutrition Surveillance Coordinator in the Ministry of Health Latoya Matthew-Duncan
discussed with the Core Committee the health situation in St. Kitts and Nevis. “Cultural foods play a crucial role in promoting good nutrition and health, often being made with fresh, locallysourced ingredients and prepared using traditional cooking,” Mrs. Matthew-Duncan said. “This recipe book will contribute to cultural preservation, foster a sense of belonging, and offer nutritious options rooted in heritage and tradition.”

The process leading to the production of the cultural cookbook was addressed by Research and
Communications Officer in the Department of Creative Economy Alecia Daniel-Blake.
Identified steps included: establishing a core development partnership, establishing context and
content and developing and refining content. Following the consultations, the process will
continue with the design layout and publishing. The distribution and facilitation of the active
use of the cookbook will also be addressed by the department.
Mrs. Daniel-Blake noted: “Context is important. In conducting our consultations we have to
ensure that we include our older ones. The way we prepare our dishes is sometimes the way it
was done for generations, additionally our discussions will include adding some healthier and
gluten-free options. Our department has the task of ensuring that the culinary aspect of our
Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is put in writing and preserved, thus making sure that it is
safeguarded.”

Director Liburd expressed pleasure with the outcome of the first consultation and the
establishment of the Core Committee.

He noted, “We had a fruitful discussion and I really enjoyed the energy in the room. I am
anticipating similar enthusiasm and further input into our data at the upcoming sessions.
Safeguarding the culinary component of our Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is critical to
the survival of the traditions of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports and the Creative Economy Valencia Syder noted, “The Ministry applauds this important initiative and is encouraged by the level of participation from the various stakeholders. We see it as a meaningful step towards actualizing the safeguarding of our Intangible Cultural Heritage and promoting healthy lifestyles. We are excited for and eagerly anticipate the final results.”

Attendees included representatives from both islands of the Federation from the ministries of Tourism, Health and Education. Department representatives from St. Kitts and from Nevis included those from Gender Affairs, Agriculture and the Creative Economy along with the Nevis Cultural Development Foundation (NCDF). Partnership commitment was also obtained from the Department of Aging and Disabilities.

The ICH Project presently taking place in St. Kitts and Nevis falls under the UNESCO ICH
Convention of 2003. According to the Convention, “Cultural heritage does not end at
monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.”

The convention has since been ratified by 182 states and has allowed the inscription of more than 600 elements throughout the world. The Federation signed on to the Convention in 2016 and in 2019 launched its first ICH project “Strengthening Inventory Preparation Capacity for Implementing the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in St. Kitts and Nevis.” The project enabled the Federation to receive UNESCO technical capacity and was backed by US$99,443.

The current ICH project “Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) – Developing a National Policy ICH Project” was launched March 22, 2023. UNESCO
provided $US91, 252 again enabling the Federation to benefit from technical assistance.

This project is designed to create a structured National ICH Policy Framework to safeguard our Intangible Cultural Heritage and slated for completion by December 2024.

The development of a culturally relevant cookbook represents the department’s expanded
approach to safeguarding our cultural heritage. It is one of a series of activities and initiatives designed to capitalize on the previous and ongoing initiatives while enabling greater public engagement.

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