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Bush Cook – a Guyanese Tradition

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Photos by Kevon Lorrimer

Published: 11th of February, 2023 by Patrick Carpen

Last updated: May 1, 2023 at 20:36 pm

Bush cook is a Guyanese tradition in which a group of persons, usually friends, family, neighbors or any combination of such, get together to cook a nice pot of cook up rice, also called “all in one,” at somebody’s backyard or another “bushy” area of choice. It is sort of like a picnic, but somewhat unique.

Usually, each member of the bush cook group would contribute one or more food item to make up the pot. All members would join in helping to prepare the food, fire, and to cook the food. Then, the group will relish a hot plate of cookup rice while “gaffing” and telling stories. At the end of the event, which usually lasts anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, each member of the bush cook crew would assist in cleaning up the environment as well as the wares.

Usually, very primitive equipment is used to cook the food for a bush cook. The pot is usually placed on top of two stones, an old vehicle rim (as shown below), or a carefully cut metal drum fireside, etc. Wood, dried tree limbs, and sticks are used to fuel the fire.

Bush cook is a social event and is used to unite friends, family, and neighbors. While the tradition is not practiced by the entire spectrum of Guyanese, the vast majority of Guyanese can say that they have participated in at least one bush cook during his or her lifetime.

So, what are your experiences with bush cook? Tell us in the comments.

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