What is bammy?
There are so many things about Jamaican food that I take for granted. Like the origins of a lot of the things that we love to eat like Bammy. For me bammy is just bammy and I’ve never had to really explain it. All I know is that Jamaicans love their bammy and fish! It’s made of cassava and, like bread, it’s not something most people tend to make at home.
After bammy is made, it’s dried to preserve it so, when you buy bammy it’s hard. Before frying or toasting it you have to soak it in milk (usually coconut milk) or water. The flat, dry disks soak up all the milk or water and become plump. The main purpose for cooking bammy is to make it crispy and brown on the outside. I like to toast my bammy. When it’s ready, I just slice the bammy horizontally and spread some butter inside the soft, gooey center. It’s sooo tasty!
Bammy isn’t at all like bread. The closest thing I’ve found that reminds me of it is English crumpets, but that’s a stretch. I did a little research and found bammy described as a traditional Jamaican cassava flatbread descended from the simple flatbread eaten by the Arawaks, Jamaica’s original inhabitants. For centuries, it was the bread staple for rural Jamaicans until the cheaper, imported wheat flour breads became popular.
Nowadays all kinds of companies are manufacturing bammy. In the 1990s, the United Nations and the Jamaican government established a program to revive bammy production and to market it as a modern, convenient food product. Still, there’s nothing like going to Old Harbour or White House for locally made bammy alongside a couple of pieces of Escovitch Snapper or parrot fish!