World's Second Oldest Man Dies: Longevity and Diet.

Mr. James Sisnett
We join in expressing our profound condolences to the family of Mr. James Sisnett, Barbadian super-centenarian, who recently died at the age of 113 years.  Mr. Sisnett was the oldest living person in the western hemisphere and the second oldest man in the world. His longevity had attracted journalists from the international community, who interviewed him in recent years.
Throughout the Caribbean, we are witnessing an increase in our citizens achieving the centenarian milestone.  Many of them attribute their longevity to their deep belief in their Christian faith and their diet. They lived through a period of immense social and economic hardship and yet they provided for their families. Those who were childless assisted with parenting the children of their extended families. They also worked in many back breaking jobs such as agricultural laborers.  Many of our female centenarians were domestics or employed in other low paying occupations. However, we must state that during their working years, the great majority , if not all, Caribbean economies were agriculturally based hence being a domestic was just an extension of catering to the plantocracy or the upper echelons of society.
Many of us are therefore left to wonder if our current lifestyles and techno based professions are contributing to shorter life spans. We will be mistaken.  Empirical evidence suggests that the life spans of people of most countries are increasing. This is due to advances in medical science and the fact that many people are opting for healthier lifestyles.
 In the Caribbean, our problem seems to be stress and diet related. Non-communicable diseases present some of our more immediate health management challenges. We are simply not eating the foods our centenarians attribute to their longevity. Travelling throughout the Caribbean, we notice: pomegranates, golden apples, cherries, and a large variety of plums, mangoes and tamarind falling to the ground. We need to include more ground provisions such as: yams, eddoes and potatoes in our diet.
Our children are glued to their televisions, hand held computers and cell phones. Obesity is too high among our young people. The once a week, at least, (Sundays) at the beach swimming and frolicking seem to be slowly disappearing. Gone or going are the days when we would convert any available piece of pasture to a hive of activity: football, cricket, netball, races, basketball etc.
While we can never go back to what we call the good old days, we must find a way to ensure that there is a change, in our current trend toward fast food, and make our Caribbean populations more active via exercise and utilizing the ocean that surrounds us and our welcoming climate. Mr. Sisnett’s favorite dish was bread fruit cou cou and steam fish. We therefore thought it fitting to share these recipes with our readers.

Breadfruit Cou Cou


1 breadfruit

4 ozs salt meat

2 teaspoons (or less) salt

1 bunch herbs

2 cups stock

1 onion (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of margarine

Cut breadfruit into slices and boil with salt and meat, herbs and onion in water, just covering the fruit.

When soft take from the heat and crush with a potato masher then with a heavy wooden spatula to make quite smooth. Adding stock as necessary. Stir in some margarine and when smooth, place in a dish and spread with the remainder margarine.
Breadfruit cou cou is usually served with fish.

Steam Fish
·         2 lbs fish
·         1 small onion
·         2 med. tomatoes
·         2 stalk scallion
·         2 sprig thyme
·         3 cloves garlic
·         5 pimento seeds crushed
·         2 oz butter
·         salt and pepper
·         scotch bonnet or hot pepper to taste
·         cooking oil
·         1/2 cup water
·         1 tsp tomato paste

1.     Clean fish and season with salt and pepper.
2.     Fry in large pan a for about 5 mins on each side then set aside.
3.     Using the same frying pan , cook onionscrushed garlic, and tomatoes for 5 minutes.
4.     Add remaining ingredients except fish and butter and cook for 3 minutes.
5.     Add fish and steam for 3 mins.
6.     Pour sauce on the fish, then add butter.
7.     Cook fish until its flaky (8-10 minutes).

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