The popular cookbook Miss Cleo’s Cayman Kitchen: Treasured Recipes from East End is set to hit the shelves once again.
The cookbook, which was last printed in 2010, is a treasure trove of popular Caymanian dishes and international favourites with a Caribbean twist, as well as cookery tips by Cleopatra Conolly, affectionately known as Miss Cleo.
The book’s release has been timed to coincide with this month’s 14th annual Honouring Women celebration. The release is also timely as it marks the second anniversary of Miss Cleo’s death. She passed away on the 22 March, 2010, at age 84.
Originally published by Cayman Net Ltd., the cookbook takes those who love to cook on a journey – from Miss Cleo’s life as a little girl in East End to her first job in the kitchen at Tortuga Club, where she spent 32 years as the Islands’ first female executive chef.
All Miss Cleo’s favourite recipes remain the same, including signature dishes such as prime turtle steak, East End style conch stew and lobster thermidor. The only change is to the front cover, which has been refreshed and updated with a new look.
Miss Cleo was a cultural icon and a familiar figure in East End and throughout the Cayman Islands, as a storyteller, oral historian, chef, cookbook writer and tourism ambassador at Morritt’s Resort.
Despite only having a primary school education, Miss Cleo loved to cook and would collect recipes from magazines and cookbooks and adapt them, using ingredients available locally and adding her own unique touches. The restaurant at Tortuga Club soon became the source of exciting gourmet discoveries.
Miss Cleo’s nephew, McFarlane Conolly, lived just a few doors down from Miss Cleo in Gun Bay, East End and has helped to arrange the re-printing. He said that it was important that books like Miss Cleo’s Cayman Kitchen remained in print for future generations to enjoy.
“In the market place there are not many authentic Caymanian things,” he said. “Miss Cleo’s book is truly Caymanian and is like a history book of some of Cayman’s most popular and treasured traditional dishes.
“Since its last print run a couple of years ago the book has sold out,” he added. “We have had a large number of people and retailers asking for it.”
Barbara Currie Dailey, a family friend who also helped arrange the reprint, said the cookbook was one of Miss Cleo’s proudest life achievements.
It was her wish, as presented in her will, that her family would inherit the copyright to make sure her legacy lived on for future generations. Her wish has come true.
“The historic book’s 214 pages are filled with authentic Caymanian recipes; anecdotes as only Miss Cleo could tell them and favourite dishes from her Tortuga Club kitchen many years ago.”
Copies of the beloved book, priced at CI$12, US$15, are available from McFarlane Conolly of East End and will be available in select book stores and retail outlets soon. Contact Mr. Conolly at: 916-7854