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How Christina Jones’ Local Italian Restaurants Found Their Way Into Her Jamaican Kitchen

How Christina Jones’ Local Italian Restaurants Found Their Way Into Her Jamaican Kitchen

How does the household and area you grew up in effect your culinary identity? For TV producer  Christina Jones—the food in her neighborhood found its way into her kitchen just like the culinary influences from her Jamaican parents. Last year, we spoke to Christina for our Cooking the Diaspora series, and she shared her recipe that was the perfect mix of Jamaican flavors and Italian-American cooking: Rasta Pasta with Jerk Chicken

Growing up in New Jersey, Christina loved her mother’s traditional Jamaican food, but the abundance of Italian-American restaurants at her doorstep also piqued her interest. A huge part of her culinary identity came from her Jamaican roots, but part of the intersectionality of an immigrant parent background is also having the food in your new home make it into your identity. Thus, when Christina began her experimental cooking at home, it made perfect sense to cook all the food she loved growing up, not just some of it!  

“Growing up, I loved all of the cooking that my mom made, but she made strictly Jamaican dishes. 

Everything was either oxtails, ackee and saltfish, green banana and dumpling, and fried yam. 

I was experiencing all of the Jamaican goodness with all of the cookings that my mom had made, but I grew up in a very diverse town. 

There was pizza shops everywhere, so I loved pasta, I loved pizza, and so that’s where this dish has like a little bit of the fusion of this Jamaican cuisine and this Italian cuisine, just come together to make this delicious Jamaican Jerk Chicken Rasta Pasta.”

Check out Christina’s Instagram page to see what else she’s been up to! 
Does Christina’s culinary identity resonate with you? Watch her interview on our YouTube, and check out more of our videos on Cooking the Diaspora! Don’t forget to tag us in your food creations with #MyJikoni to join our growing community of home cooks.

In Swahili, Jikoni means kitchen. At our core, that’s what we are. A space to cook, to share, to create.

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