About this Episode
Before she became a food scientist, Dr. Karma James-Dulin grew up in the Caribbean, on the beautiful island of St. Lucia. In this episode, we talk with Dr. James-Dulin about her journey to becoming a food scientist, one that included fresh produce and daily home cooking while growing up that continues to influence her food habits today.
Dr. James-Dulin grew up in the countryside in St. Lucia, and in her early years spent a lot of time on her family’s banana farm. Dr. James-Dulin and her family value hard work just as much as they value relaxation and enjoying time outdoors. Dr. James-Dulin grew up in a time where the banana industry in St. Lucia was a big deal (this industry eventually gave way to tourism over time). While the farm was mainly a banana farm a number of other fruits and vegetables were grown for regular consumption and at times for export, including peppers, mangoes, citrus, avocadoes, taro, yam, and more.
Needless to say, the now-trendy “farm to table” concept was a natural way of life for Dr. James-Dulin, her family, and her neighbors. Her family strongly promoted the habit of fresh, daily home-cooking with home-grown fruits and vegetables as well as fish and/or meat included at every meal. Plus, family members, especially her grandmother, enjoyed special herbal concoctions as remedies for things like the common cold, cramps, and detoxification after holidays.
Dr. James’s childhood indirectly inspired what would eventually become a successful food science career. She was a picky eater growing up, so she did a lot of cooking herself because she liked things a certain way. After studying science in school, Dr. James-Dulin was initially interested in chemistry with a focus in forensic science; looking to get her PhD, she saw more opportunities to work in food science as well as a connection with her life on St. Lucia. Her career continues to connect her with her childhood and food life growing up.