Caribbean Paleo with Althea Brown
In Episode 89 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast, Liren talks to Althea Brown of Metemgee about her cookbook, Caribbean Paleo: 75 Wholesome Dishes Celebrating Tropical Cuisine and Culture, Guyanese ingredients and flavors, and more!
Caribbean Paleo with Althea Brown: Sharing the Richness of Guyanese Traditions and Caribbean Cuisine
On the podcast, I recently spoke with Althea Brown. Althea is a certified Whole30 coach and creator of the popular blog, Metemgee (pronounced meh-tem-g). On her blog, she shares recipes inspired by Guyanese traditions and Caribbean flavors. Born and raised in Guyana, Althea is now based in Denver, Colorado, where she found herself missing the flavors of home, so she now shares these flavors with her audience along with Whole30 and paleo recipes. This year, she published her cookbook, Caribbean Paleo: 75 Wholesome Dishes Celebrating Tropical Cuisine and Culture.
In this episode, we chat about her childhood in Guyana, the strong positive influences of her mother and grandmothers, and how she transforms traditional recipes into delicious Whole30, paleo, and grain-free recipes. Listen to the full episode or keep reading for some of the highlights from Althea.
How did you get started recipe developing and food blogging?
I grew up in Guyana, a melting pot of many diverse cultures and cuisines. Guyana is geographically in South America and culturally part of the Caribbean. There are many Indian, African, European, and Chinese influences that date back to the times of British Colonization, along with native influences and more.
My one grandma was Indo-Guyanese, and my other grandma was Afro-Guyanese, so I grew up with all these influences. I have many memories of learning to cook with them and my mother as I was growing up. The influences and stories these women would tell about food and cooking stuck with me, and they are a major reason food is such an important part of my life.
In Guyana, I was exposed to all kinds of tropical ingredients and rich flavors, such as Indian sweets and curries and African stews. Metemgee, the namesake for my blog, is an Afro-Guyanese stew made with root veggies and coconut milk that I describe as heaven in a bowl because it is a delicious, cozy comfort food.
I moved to New York for college, which was a big change. Luckily, NYC is a culinary hub, and I found some diverse flavors from back home. However, when I moved to Denver, I could no longer find any Caribbean or Guyanese restaurants or flavors and I found myself missing them.
At this time, I had recently gotten married and had kids as well. I wanted to teach my kids about the food and culture I grew up with and pass my family’s recipes on to them. So, I spent a lot of time calling my mom and grandmothers to recreate and record their recipes. That is how the blog, Metemgee, got started.
Tell us more about your book, Caribbean Paleo
When I was diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity, I experimented and discovered I felt best on a mostly paleo diet. Of course, I still wanted to eat the foods I love and grew up with, so I started adapting my family recipes to have grain-free or paleo options. This connected me with people with similar needs, so it evolved on my website and now into this book.
The book is inspired by the traditional recipes from my childhood. I got much inspiration from my mother and grandmothers. Of course, they did not have written recipes and would often measure with their hands, so I had to reverse-engineer many of the recipes for the book. It was quite an accomplishment creating these recipes and they are so good; I can’t wait to share them with everyone.
Caribbean Paleo: 75 Wholesome Dishes Celebrating Tropical Cuisine and Culture, by Althea Brown (Page Street Publishing, 2023).