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The True Story of Jamaican Jerk: Cooking and Caribbean Culture

University Of The West Indies via FutureLearn


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Explore Jamaican cuisine and how it is situated in a wider cultural context

Jerk is a style of cooking that originated in Jamaica but has become popular the world over. With its unique blend of spices used to marinade meat, fish, and vegetables, each mouthful conjures up an authentic taste of the Caribbean.

On this three-week course, you’ll gain a fascinating insight into the cultural heritage of this delicious food, guided by an experts from The University of the West Indies.

Discover the connection between Jamaican jerk food and the cultural heritage and history of the Caribbean

On this course, you’ll learn how jerk originated as a cooking method and explore how jerk seasoning developed over the centuries into the marinade we recognise today.

Examine Jamaican culture and sustainability with experts from the University of the West Indies

You’ll explore what factors led to the evolution of jerk’s flavours and ingredients, and discuss how the concepts of truth, authenticity, appropriation, creativity, and sustainability have impacted our understanding of Jamaican food.

With this knowledge, you’ll gain an appreciation of the importance of jerk food within Caribbean culture.

Perfect your own Jamaican jerk seasoning recipe and prepare delicious Caribbean food

Whether you’re a maverick in the kitchen or prefer tried and tested recipes, this course will allow you to showcase your cooking credentials.

By developing your own jerk seasoning or preparing jerked food from authentic ingredients, you’ll learn to make delicious meals, whether you prefer the classic jerk chicken or your tastes are more experimental.

By the end of this course, you’ll understand jerk cooking’s rich history in the context of Jamaican and Caribbean culture. You’ll have also gained the confidence to try your hand at cooking Jamaican jerk food for yourself whether at home or professionally.

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in Caribbean food and culture. The course would benefit chefs, cooks or workers in the hospitality sector, as well as anyone with a personal connection to the Caribbean.

No prior knowledge is necessary, simply an interest in jerk and Jamaican food and the wider culture.


  • Culture and Heritage: Examining Sustainability, Truth, Authenticity and Creativity
    • Message from the course developer
    • The True Story of Jamaican Jerk: Cooking and Caribbean Culture
    • Delving Deeper into Meanings
    • Week 1 Summary
  • Jerk: From Taino to Maroon to the General Jamaican Experience
    • The Meeting of Different Worlds
    • Barbecue and Jerk
    • Week 2 Summary
  • Jerk Today: From the Open Air to the Kitchen
    • Technology and Other Changes in the Twentieth Century
    • Jerking at Home in the Twenty-first Century
    • Week 3 Summary

Taught by

Charmaine McKenzie


4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 11 ratings

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