Haitian Squash Soup, Soup Joumou
Dieujuste Saint-Surain stands in his field in Senk-Pòt, Haiti, holding up two freshly harvested joumou (Haitian Creole for calabaza squash). “To me, joumou means life, it means independence and it means the dignity of feeding my family with the food I grow,” says Saint-Surain.
Following a long-fought independence from colonialism and slavery, Haitians developed a unique tradition of hospitality, celebration, and generosity centered around a simple meal: soup joumou. This well-loved Haitian dish is a hearty squash soup with meat and local vegetables. Soup joumou is shared widely with friends and neighbors on Haitian Independence Day, for Sunday breakfast, and at community celebrations.
As Haitians take stock of the devastation of Hurricane Mathew, the spicy complexity and heritage of Soup Joumou is a reminder of a strong people, and a proud history of incredible resilience and independence in the face of daunting odds.