Food and nutrition students at R.M. Bailey Senior High School received an unexpected lesson on guava duff and its Commonwealth connection from British High Commissioner Sarah Dickson on the occasion of Commonwealth Day.
They learned that the popular dessert is a tradition that The Bahamas shares with many seafaring nations.
“According to a report in the Manchester Times in 1869, the name ‘duff’ comes from a sailor on the Cutty Sark, who, believing the word “dough” to be pronounced the same as the word ‘rough’, invented the duff,” said Dickson. “It was intended as a replacement for Christmas pudding, and is still seen as a celebratory dessert.”
It’s because of this reason, Dickson said, that a duff recipe will appear in Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee cookbook to celebrate her 70 years as the joint head of state.
Dickson spent time with the students cooking duff.
“So, it is great to be here to celebrate our connections and share in some wonderful duff,” said Dickson, during her visit to the school on March 14, Commonwealth Day.
She also explained the significance of Commonwealth Day to the students.
“I probably do not need to point out that the Commonwealth of The Bahamas adopted the term as part of its own name. Bahamians understand what it means to work together across a nation of islands, all with their individual cultural traditions, I think, of the wider Commonwealth in a similar way,” said Dickson. “Even though the geography is bigger, and it amounts to approximately 2.5 billion people, history ties the 54 members together. The members identify common themes, while respecting each other’s differences.”
This idea behind this year’s Commonwealth Day theme, “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming”, Dickson said, is that member states work together creatively to deliver the initiatives that will change the lives of Commonwealth citizens, and that it includes working with young people.
She also reminded the R.M. Bailey students that the Commonwealth offers regular scholarship opportunities and other competitions.