Belizean American Rises From Recession With YouTube Cooking Show

Every Belizean family has recipes for its favorite foods from fried jacks to Johnny cakes to rice and beans. But now one Belizean American woman who resides in California has gone international with hers. Barbara Mcnab Grinage has self published her own cook book. Now, it’s surely not the first cookbook with Belizean recipes – far from it. But what makes this effort notable is the counterpart to the book – which is an online cooking show, where making dukunu with canned corn never looked so easy! We found out more about Barbara Grinage’s unusual rise to internet fame.

Monica Bodden reporting
From fry jack to conch soup to trifle to Creole bun to that old staple, rice and beans, Barbara Mcnab Grinage can cook it and the Belizean American has put it all on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thebarepantryshow

Barbara Mcnab Grinage - 'Beans, Rice and Jesus Christ'
"So I decided to launch a YouTube show because it allows you to broadcast yourself for free and as a matter of fact once you get it going and they see that you're consistent - they will start paying you to keep the show on the air. That show is phenomenal, I have over 2200 subscribers in a short space of time - like a year or so. They are all types of people, Thailand, Phillipines, Australia, Japan and all the different parts of the world."

And now she’s put it all in this book, Beans, Rice and Jesus Christ 101 Easy To Create Caribbean Recipes For Seasons Of Feast Or Famine. And this survivor of the 2008 recession n the USA knows all about famine"

Barbara Mcnab Grinage
"So I named the show 'Bare Pantry show' because every time I would go to the cupboard and open it and I would only find Tomato Paste in the recession, I used to tell my husband 'I feel like old mother Hubbard - I came here and I can't get myself a bone, let alone the dog'. Because even though we were in America and because we were self employed we have a lot of famine in the self-employment part of our life. A lot of the times we go home and we make the fry jacks or 'fry cakes' and we eat that with cheese and we make do, at least we weren't hungry."

And she isn’t hungry now because the YouTube videos have turned into money makers.

Barbara Mcnab Grinage
"Because the videos are better quality now, YouTube allowed me to monetized and we added advertisements to your video and when the people view their advertisements they will give you 50% of whatever the advertiser paid them, so they are really fair with it. You can have one video making you $300 a month if it gets 2000 views a day, I have a video like that - how to make coconut oil and that is really raking in money."

And she shares her good fortune in the book – which is a companion to the show:

Barbara Mcnab Grinage
"A lot of Belizeans living abroad they don't know or learn how to cook. I left when I was 15 and I didn't know how to cook and they are in the same boat and they ask the older people and some of them have dementia and some of them just don't want to share it and so they go to my site. A lot of people tell me they find me by going to Google and searching 'How to make Creole bread?' and then my show pops up, I have over 170 videos there on how to make the stuff."

And so while you may not be able to make Fried Jacks in two minutes, in her catalogue of 170 shows, or 101 recipes there must be something you can make."

You can view her videos for free on YouTube, and you can buy her book online from barepantryshow.com for $20 US Dollars. IT is not yet being sold locally.

Channel 7