Community Healthcare Network

What is Haitian Independence Day?

January 1st marks Haitian Independence Day when revolutionary, Jean-Jacques Dessalines “the father of Haiti,” pronounced that Haitian-born slaves were free and independent from colonial French rule. General Dessalines and an army of “les gens de couleur libres” (free people of color) defeated the French military and declared Haiti a free republic. On January 1,1804 Haiti became the first black free independent republic nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Joumou Soup

Before emancipation, Haitian slaves were forbidden to eat joumou soup or squash soup, a delicacy reserved for white French slave masters. After winning the war, to commemorate Haitian freedom, the newly-emancipated Haitians celebrated by preparing squash soup. This act symbolized freedom, independence, and pride.

In keeping with this traditional ritual, many Haitian families in Haiti and throughout the diaspora prepare the soup every year to remember the freedom that their ancestors fought for. Usually, the matriarch in the family will prepare the ingredients the night before and actual cooking takes place on the morning of the 1st. It is believed that eating joumou soup on January 1st serves as a blessing for a prosperous and healthy new year.

Joumou is not only served on New Year’s Day but is reserved for important milestones and events in Haitian life. Usually served on Sundays when the family gets together or at a funeral reception, the soup is believed to help restore and revitalize the body, a symbol of fortification and strength.

Joumou Soup Recipe

Adapted from A Taste of Haiti Expanded Edition (Serves 8-10 people)

  • 2 pounds pumpkin/squash peeled, cut into large chunks
  • 2 pounds beef neck bones
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and mined
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons Haitian pikliz
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 cabbage leaves, cut into 4 pieces each
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 to 6 whole cloves
  • ½ cup penne pasta or macaroni
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 large turnip, peeled, cut into pieces
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper
  • Salt, pepper, and more herbs to taste

To prepare:

  1. Cook pumpkin over medium heat in 6 cups of water for 30 minutes.
  2. Clean meat with lime juice. Marinate meat with scallions, onion, garlic, shallots, green pepper, pikliz, salt and black pepper.
  3. In stockpot, add the meat with 1 cup of water and cook covered, over medium heat for 40 minutes.
  4. Add 3 cups of water and pureed pumpkin and bring to a boil for 40 minutes.
  5. Add celery, cabbage, carrots, and whole cloves. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Add remaining ingredients. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and more herbs to taste.

Calcium is a mineral that is found in many places in our body. It is very important for bone and tooth health. The recommended daily amounts of calcium are: For females ages 19-50, and males ages 19-70: 1000mg per day. For females ages 51 & older, and males ages 71 & older: 1200mg per day.

Let’s make sure you’re getting enough.

The most known calcium source are dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt:

Milk, non-fat 290mg/cup
Yogurt, plain 419 mg/cup
Mozzarella, part skim 150mg/cheese stick

But what happens if you are lactose intolerant?

  • Lactose is a sugar naturally found in milk and milk products like cheese or ice cream.
  • Lactose intolerance is a condition in which people have digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas after eating foods with lactose.
  • About 68 percent of the world’s population is Lactose intolerant but few are aware of their intolerance.

If you’re lactose intolerant or just dairy-free, aim to have 2-3 servings of plant-based calcium per day:

Fortified Soy Milk 290mg/cup Edamame 98mg/cup
Kale 180mg/2 cups raw kale Broccoli 87mg/cup
Chia Seeds 179mg/2 tablespoons Almonds 75mg/1 handful
White Beans 161mg/cup Carrots 40mg/medium carrot
Dried Figs 120mg/4 dried figs Pumpkin 40mg/1 cup mashed

Make Fig Salad with Goat Cheese and Kale

Salad Ingredients:
(makes 3-4 servings)

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 large fresh figs (or 8 small ones)
  • 5 cups kale, stems removed & chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

How to make:

  1. In a small bowl, add all dressing ingredients. Whip until well combined.
  2. Cut stems from figs. Slice in quarters if large or in half if small.
  3. In a large bowl, add kale and half of the dressing. Massage kale until kale is more tender.
  4. Arrange figs on the top of the salad. Add sliced almond and crumbled goat cheese.
  5. Drizzle the rest of the dressing and toss to combine. Serve right away.