The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 05.10.04


On the island of Hisaniola

We could learn a thing or two from Latin Americans, as I found out recently on my sojourn to the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola is a place that runs on its own schedule and by my reckoning Canadians would be a little less stressed out if we adopted some worthwhile Spanish practices.


Typically, Dominicans will have their main meal of the day at noon. Here in North America any worker will tell you that a big meal at lunch will leave you tired and wishing for a nap. The problem is that the will to return to work disappears after a major lunchtime feast and most of us just cannot get away with telling the boss that we aren't coming in because we ate too much and are tired. A pink slip is guaranteed should you attempt such folly, I suspect.

There is a very civilized carry- over from Spain that allows Dominicans an opportunity to avoid the extreme heat of midday and to take advantage of their wonderful cuisine. Travelers will find that they should adjust their schedules according to the Dominican practice of a siesta.

In our case we adjusted quickly to the idea that our daily routine included this magical concept.

We would shop in the morning, ogle Dominican delicacies in the Mercado (market) and salivate at the sight of roadside barbecue. We would then hurry off to our abode, produce and ingredients in hand, in anticipation of a big snack and a much-needed two-hour siesta. Thirty-three degree weather tends to lend itself to this custom.

In the Dominican Republic poultry is prolific. How these critters manage to survive is another story as chickens crossing the road cause taxi drivers to turn absolutely "loco" and passengers wince at the never ending swerve and curve in avoidance. With chickens come eggs and in the Republic there are many.

The following recipe is one that Susan prepared a few times for breakfast and prior to our afternoon siestas. It's a Dominican Spanish potato omelet, if you will, and goes nicely with a tall rum and Coke (Cuba libre) or rum and Sprite (Santa libre). This combo will put you in the mood for an afternoon nap for sure.

Sue's Siesta Potato Omelet

4 fresh eggs whisked
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 small Spanish onion
I small green pepper chopped
1 Habanero pepper chopped (optional as it is the hottest of all peppers)
1 medium potato peeled and sliced thinly
2 Tbsp oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large non- stick pan and fry the potato, garlic, onion, peppers until soft. Pour whisked eggs over the medley and cook on medium-low heat until set. Fold over one half of the omelet onto itself and gently turn the whole thing over. Turn out onto a large plate and garnish with sliced Roma (Italian) tomato.

Serves two to four hungry "touristas."