Would you like some rum cake with your eggs?

While researching our family history, we have often found details that don’t seem to jibe with what is expected. Due to external influences, beliefs; languages; foods; and lifestyles are altered. These “clues,” if you will, shed light on why things are and give you a deeper understanding of your history. The following is an example….Check back for more “clues.”

As Christmas is almost here, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the food I’m going to be eating in the next two weeks. The sweets, in particular, the Christmas cake (or black cake or rum cake) as Jamaicans call it, will be in abundance for dessert at my family dinners.

Interestingly enough, my husband’s Scottish-born parents will enjoy a typical Scottish breakfast including, what they call “dumpling.” I have often teased Ian about it…asking him to please pass the rum cake and eggs.

Turns out, I may have been too quick to laugh at his family’s tradition. According to Kwintessential Ltd., a website with different facts about countries, the Jamaican rum cake was derived from the English “plum” pudding and the Scottish dumpling. Brought to the West Indies in the 17th century, it was later altered. The English and the Scots used brandy to flavour the cake, but since Jamaicans didn’t have access to this ingredient, rum was used as a substitute.

~C.T.