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Auntie Birdie’s Pepperpot Soup

Traditions, such as how to prepare certain meals are generally passed from mother to daughter, the older women in the family to the younger ones. Though a very talented cook and baker, my mother never taught me how to cook.

By the time I was old enough to start learning, she’d passed the responsibility for preparing meals on to our helper, going into the kitchen only at Christmas to bake or when we expected company. Then she’d create elaborate meals, which were, of course, well beyond our helper’s capabilities.

Somehow, though, cooking came to me naturally — I can fix just about any meal. But when I decided to feature pepperpot soup for FoodieTuesday, I realized that I didn’t know how to make it.

Sure, I could have used a recipe from one of my cookbooks but that just wouldn’t do, not for pepperpot soup. Knowing how to make it made me think of those family traditions. So I emailed my sister and aunt. I wanted a recipe I knew someone in the family had used.

Auntie Birdie's Pepperpot Soup
A delicious, nutritious soup even George Washington liked.


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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb. smoked or corned pork, pig's tail or salt beef, chopped in small pieces
  2. 1/2 lb. fresh beef (boneless, cubes)
  3. 3 cloves chopped garlic
  4. 1 onion (chopped)
  5. 6 cups water
  6. ½ lb. yellow (or other yam), 1 lb. cocoa or (2 medium green plantains peeled and chopped)
  7. 1/2 lb. cream of coconut (or 1 can coconut milk)
  8. 2 cups okra
  9. 1 hot pepper (Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped)
  10. 1/2 red pepper (sweet, chopped)
  11. 1 lb. callaloo/spinach, chopped
  12. ½ lb. cabbage chopped
  13. ½ lb. kale or mustard greens chopped
  14. 1lb flour (1/2 plain and ½ whole wheat) for dumplings
  15. Salt and black pepper, to taste
  16. 2 bay leaves
  17. 11/2 tsp. thyme (ground)
  18. 4 stalks escallions (chopped)
  19. 4 pinches nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot, add pork with a teaspoon of oil.
  2. Braise on medium heat to remove fat drippings.
  3. Pat the beef cubes dry.
  4. When enough drippings have been released, add the beef and sauté until brown.
  5. Add 6 cups of water, cover and let simmer for an hour. Skim off any foam that rises on the top and sides of the pot.
  6. Check meats for doneness then add all greens, including okra. Cook for ½ hour.
  7. Remove greens and puree in blender or food processor.
  8. Return pureed greens to pot. Add chopped onions, yam, coco, bay leaves, coconut, sweet pepper, beans and spices.
  9. Make spinners and add.
  10. Add scallions and other seasonings.
  11. Check taste and add a tablespoon of butter.
  12. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  13. Add shrimp during the last few minutes of cooking
  14. Spoon into a bowl, garnish with shrimp.
  15. Serve hot with rolls, slices of hard dough or other bread.
Notes
  1. Turkey or chicken can be substituted, or left out all together for a meatless soup.
  2. Meats can be pressure cooked.
InsideJourneys https://www.insidejourneys.com/

Pepperpot soup is made primarily callaloo, a leafy green vegetable that’s a close cousin to spinach, as well as taro leaves, kale and okra – though any green, or combination of, will do.

This mix of vegetables, meat and pepper, lots of it, make pepperpot a delicious and nutritious meal. So nutritious that George Washington had his cook prepare it for his troops. According to a post on Chef Walter Staib’s, A Taste of History, Washington was introduced to a version of the soup when he visited his brother, Lawrence, in Barbados in 1751.

When my aunt emailed me a recipe appropriately called, Aunt Birdie’s Pepperpot Soup, I wrote back immediately.  The recipe, she said, was similar to how she remembers the pepperpot soup that was made in her mother’s kitchen in rural Jamaica.

I knew right away that I wanted her to show me how to make it. I wanted to learn from someone who knew.

Auntie Birdie, my father’s youngest sister, is an accountant and fabulous cook who always shares stories about growing up “in the country,” as most Jamaicans call any place outside Kingston.

As she chopped the greens, Auntie Birdie, who was named after one of her mother’s sisters, reminisced. It certainly feels like life was simpler then, family life idyllic, the foods sweeter.

Most people cooked on a wood fire in a kitchen that was separate from the house, Auntie Birdie recalled. There was no refrigeration then so meats, primarily pork and beef, were cured, or smoked. The meat would be seasoned with pimento leaves and placed on a mesh, called a kreng kreng which hung over the fire. As meals were cooked with pimento woods, the smoke would slowly baste the meats and lock in the flavors. This smoked meat, along with a small amount of fresh beef, would be used in the pepperpot soup.

Auntie Birdie with her pepper tree
Aunt Birdie with the tree that supplied the peppers for the soup

With my aunt and I working together, the pepperpot soup took two hours from preparation to table. The meat would have taken the longest to cook, but in this modern day kitchen, a pressure cooker reduced cooking time by more than half.

I had pepperpot soup last at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. It was the best pepperpot soup I’d had in a while. Auntie Birdie’s Pepperpot Soup made me go for seconds.

 

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Culture on Display at the West Indian American Carnival

The Labor Day weekend means one thing to New York’s West Indian American community: the West Indian American Carnival! Now in its 46th year, the Carnival bills itself as the greatest carnival in North America. It is perhaps New York’s largest cultural festival.

The celebration of carnival began in the 1920s as a private event among the West Indian communities in Harlem. It became an official event in 1947, when a Trinidadian woman received a permit from the city to organize a street festival on Labor Day. In 1964, the city revoked the permit because of a disturbance at one event.

The festival resumed in 1969, in a new location – Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway – perhaps following the migration of West Indians from Harlem. It also had an organizing committee, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, which, under the 32-year stewardship of Carlos Lezama grew into the signature event it is today.

The West Indian American Carnival, 2013

Each year, the carnival kicks off on Thursday with a music festival, featuring some of the region’s popular entertainers. On Friday, there’s a Youth Fest and a Brass Fest; and a Junior Carnival Parade and Panorama Steelband Competition on Saturday. Fat Sunday (Dimanche Gras) features the winner of the steelband competition as well as the king and queen costume winners.

West Indian American Carnival Queen
Taking photos with the queen

And on Labor Day Monday, the activities come to a grand finale with parade which attracts elected officials – the Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, has been the grand master for the last several years – business leaders, members of the Caribbean diplomatic corps and between one and three million people. They line the Eastern Parkway parade route from Schenectady Avenue to Grand Army Plaza enjoying Caribbean food, the many floats, costumed bands, and the sounds of Soca, Reggae, Zouk, Kompa, Salsa and Calypso.

Junior Carnival, West Indian American Carnival
Watching the Junior or Kiddie Carnival

Like most West Indians, I look forward to carnival and have spent many a Labor Day on the Parkway. Had it not been for my not-totally-back-to-normal-ankle, I would have been there this year. The junior carnival was a good compromise as I’d never been and I was curious to see the youngsters do their thing. Yes, carnival is not only for the adults.

Junior Carnival, West Indian American Carnival
Junior Carnival

It was nearly 2 pm when I arrived at the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum station. As I exited the subway, I was surprised to see several parents and their costumed youngsters waiting to board. Was the carnival finished? I was relieved when one mom said her daughter had already performed and they were going home to rest. Outside the station, more people were sitting on benches near the museum’s entrance or milling around.

I followed the sound of soca music to the area behind the museum where the carnival was taking place. There were food vendors, face painters and people, lots of people, flags waving, flags tied on their wrists, or dressed in the colors of their respective flags. There was pride and excitement in the air.

There were only a few bleacher seats and they were already taken so I joined a group of people standing partially under the shade of a large tree. But I was so far back, I could hardly see the stage when the different camps danced and paraded before the judges, without raising myself on to my toes – something I could have done easily pre-accident. I was lucky to get a few photos. I’ll just have to get there earlier next time.

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes.

The Tambourine in Jamaican Culture

The tambourine or timbrel is an important musical instrument in Revival churches in Jamaica. It is also featured in mento, Kumina and Pocomania music.

According to Wikipedia, the tambourine originated in Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, the Middle East and India.

Tambourine in Jamaican Music
Tambourine

The Tainos, Jamaica’s original people, called it the maguey, and used it in celebrations for their ancestors.

There are several references to the tambourine in Jamaican popular culture. In the Anancy story, Tiger Sheep-Skin Suit, Brer (Brother) Tiger plays the tambourine.  Anancy (or Anansi), a spider and a trickster who outsmarts everyone, came to Jamaica from Ghana’s Ashanti people.

Another reference comes in 1837, when Isaac Belisario (1794-1849), a Jamaican artist of Jewish descent, published several paintings on street life, which included costumed dancers and singers who sang to the music of fife, triangle and tambourine.

The tambourine comes in different shapes. The most popular resembles a small drum with several metal disks placed at intervals in the side. To use it, the player shakes the instrument with one hand then strikes it with the other.

Prince Harry Playing the Tambourine in Jamaica

Last year, when Prince Harry was on his official visit to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, he played the tambourine with British vocalist Gary Barlow who was also on the island recording music for an album commemorating the Jubilee.

Pastor Brown’s Eye Catching House

The first time I saw Pastor Brown’s house, I had my friend stop so I could take a photo. It still is the most colorful and eye-catching house I’ve ever seen. My impression then was that an artist or someone equally comfortable with color lived there. Or someone who was absolutely not wedded to the conventions of design, or an eccentric.

Pastor Brown's descending the steps to his house
An Eye Catching House

My first photo was a quick shot, taken as the car rolled to a halt, the engine still running. My friend and I took off as soon as we noticed an elderly gentleman coming down the steps, his hand pointing in our direction. I was sure he would admonish me for taking a photo without his permission, or tell me I needed to pay a fee. And I felt guilty as we sped away. I felt I had invaded his privacy, something I’m very scrupulous about.

A year later, I was once again in Portland. This time, I was with a couple of my friends who I told about the house. I doubt they could imagine what I was trying to describe. It became one of those you’ve-got-to-see-this situations. When we got to the house, we knew we had to stop, and this time I was able to take it all in.

There was color everywhere, every inch of the house, every surface was decorated. There were also signs.

Pastor Brown's wall
Wall at the Brown house
Pastor Brown's gate
Gate to the house
Pastor Brown's sign
Sign and photos of Pastor Brown’s visit to Buckingham Palace
Pastor Brown's colors
Color everywhere

As we approached the gate to the property, a man waved and called out to us. “Come, come in!” he said, as if welcoming long lost friends.

The house is set back a good distance from the road. We walked down a grade, crossed a stream then walked up another grade to the house, which is set on the side of a hill.

Wall detail at Pastor Brown's
Wall Detail
Pastor Brown and Mrs Brown
Pastor & Mrs Brown

As we got to the steps, the man introduced himself as Pastor Brown. He called out and his wife appeared from behind a brightly painted door and joined us on the verandah.  Pastor Brown proudly showed us around his house. He was clearly proud of the work he had done over the years. He was even prouder to show us photos of his travels. Among them, his pride and joy, a faded photo of him standing outside Buckingham Palace. The way he tells it, it sounds like he actually met the Queen Elizabeth.

Pastor Brown's house
The house

For the record, Pastor Brown is a real preacher. He and his wife were so hospitable I even promised to visit the next time I’m in the area.

This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

5 Reasons to Leave the Beach and Explore St. James Jamaica

Most visitors to Jamaica arrive in Montego Bay, but I doubt many know that it’s the capital of St. James, the island’s fourth largest parish. Located on Jamaica’s northwest coast, St. James shares borders with the parishes of Trelawny (east), St. Elizabeth (south), Westmoreland (southwest), and Hanover (west). It got its name, in 1655, from James II, who was formerly the Duke of York.

Like the rest of Jamaica, the original residents of St. James were Taino Indians. Sadly, they didn’t survive Christopher Columbus’ landing on the island in 1494. Some succumbed to European diseases, others committed suicide instead of accepting subjugation to Spanish authority, while some died fighting against the Spanish. Remnants of their presence have been discovered in settlements along the coast of the parish.

Mobay Beach, St. James
Mobay Beach

Montego Bay is derived from Bahia de Manteca (Lard Bay), the name the Spanish called it because of the large population of wild hogs that they found there and which slaughtered for lard that was exported to Spain.

During sugar’s heyday, several plantations dotted the parish making sugar and rum the main exports.  Many of these plantations and great houses were burnt to the ground in the 1831 Christmas Rebellion, one of the largest slave uprisings in the island’s history. The revolt was lead by Sam Sharpe, who was born on Croydon Plantation. Sharpe was hanged and now one of Jamaica’s National Heroes.

Monument to Sam Sharpe at Croydon Plantation, St. James
Monument to Sam Sharpe at Croydon Plantation

St. James has developed much in the last several years, due in part to its location and its legendary white sand beaches, which began attracting visitors to Montego Bay and the north coast since the 1940s. Commonly referred to as the Second City, and the tourist capital of the island, Montego Bay welcomes nearly half of the approximately 3 million visitors the island sees each year, making tourism the parish’s main industry and largest employer.

Most visitors who travel to Montego Bay never leave their all-inclusive hotels. If you’re one of them, here are five reasons to get out and discover the diversity of activities that St. James has to offer.

Ahhh...Ras Natango Garden & Gallery, St. James
Ahhh…Ras Natango Garden & Gallery

Ahhh….Ras Natango Gallery & Gardens – A rock garden, art gallery and the best ecotourism spot in St. James. Ahhh…Ras Natango is located about 20 minutes from Mobay, in the small community of Camrose. Entrance $30, includes shuttle pickup. Lunch is available on order for an additional fee.

Greenwood Great House Pub, St. James
Converted Pub, Greenwood

Greenwood Great HouseNear the border of Trelawny in a community named Greenwood is Greenwood Great House, which was once owned by the family of the English poet, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. Greenwood has the Caribbean’s finest collection of musical instruments, antique furniture, china and rare books, which all belonged to the Barrett family. Guided tours are available 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. US$20. 876-953-1077

Rocklands Bird Sanctuary – With more than two-dozen endemic birds, Jamaica is a bird lover’s paradise. If you love birds and are in the Montego Bay area, head over to Rocklands Bird Sanctuary where you can spot up to 17 species, including the humming bird, Jamaica’s national bird, and feed them too!

Rows of pineapples at Croydon Plantation, St. James
Fields of pineapple

Croydon Plantation – Croydon Plantation owes its reputation to pineapples and coffee, as well as its connection to national hero, Samuel Sharpe. Sharpe was born a slave at Croydon. He became a Baptist preacher who organized a peaceful protest in December 1831 that turned into the largest rebellion on the island. Plantation tours with pineapple tastings are conducted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Cost $70 includes round trip transportation and lunch.

Drummers at the Rastafari Indigenous Village, St. James
Rastafari Drummers

Rastafari Indigenous Village – If you’re interested in learning about the Rastafarians, how they live, what they eat, their philosophy, head to the Rastafari Indigenous Village, a small community of Rasta bretheren, and some sistren too, who’ll give you the 411 on Rastafari beliefs, show you some drum moves and give you a tour of their village. An ital (purely vegetarian) lunch is also offered.

Bonus Option:

Rafting on the Great River – Nothing relaxes more than river rafting. This one-hour excursion down the Great River includes buffet lunch and drinks.

I’m sharing this post with Wanderlust Wednesday, which Dana at Time Travel Plans organizes.

Foodie Tuesday: Codfish Fritters (Stamp and Go)

I love codfish fritters – tasty bite-size morsels of cooked codfish enveloped in light flour – but made them for the first time only last year. Cod or salt fish fritters are very popular as appetizers or snacks and are made by adding flaked codfish to a batter, which is then deep-fried.

Codfish Fritter batter
Batter

Also called Stamp and Go, apparently after the command (“Stamp and go!”) that was given to 17th century British sailors when tasks had to be done in a hurry, codfish fritters are sometimes referred to as Jamaica’s first fast food. They are relatively easy to make, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to make them. Codfish fritters can be eaten by themselves or accompanied by a dipping sauce.

Codfish Fritters
Fritters

How to Make Codfish Fritters

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted codfish (deboned) 
  • 2 cups unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped, seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks escallion, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Soak codfish overnight in water, or bring to a boil twice (for 12-15 minutes), draining and adding fresh water after each boil.
  2. Drain and rinse the codfish under running cold water.
  3. Using a fork or your fingers, flake the codfish into small pieces, taking care to remove any remaining bones.
  4. To a small skillet, add oil and allow to get hot. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes and escallions. Sautee until soft about 5 minutes. Add black pepper then combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  5. Add codfish to the seasonings. Stir to combine.
  6. In a medium bowl, add flour and baking powder. Stir to incorporate.
  7. Add codfish mixture to the flour and stir to combine.
  8. Add water gradually, mixing by hand until a firm but loose batter is achieved
  9. Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 2, and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Using a tablespoon, drop rounds of dough into oil, and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes; repeat until remaining dough is finished.
  10. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fritters to paper towels to drain briefly.
  11. Garnish with tomato or lime wedges, chopped scallion, etc., and serve.

Recipe adapted from Enid Donaldson’s The Real Taste of Jamaica.

Although I’ve only used codfish, I’m sure other meats can be substituted. Fritters are not only about meat. Bananas that are very ripe can also be used, though the recipe is slightly different.

 

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The Institute of Jamaica – Rastafari: Unconquerable!

On July 21st, the Institute of Jamaica opened an historic exhibition entitled, Rastafari: Unconquerable! It is the first exhibition in Jamaica on the Rastas and as soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to see it.

Rastafari exhibition in Jamaica
Entrance to the exhibition

During the ride to the museum, I thought several times of One Love: Discovering Rastafari, the first exhibition on the Rastas that I had seen at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. I was excited to see that Rastafari, the small movement that began in Jamaica in the late 1930s and has since spread worldwide, was finally getting consideration and scholarship. Discovering Rastafari, which ran from November 2007 to November 2011, left me wondering if that was all there was. I hoped the current show would be the definitive study on Rasta.

Rastafari exhibition, Jamaica
Rastafari: Unconquerable!
Rasta exhibition, Institute of Jamaica
Artwork from Rastafari: Unconquerable!

Undoubtedly larger in space and scope, Rastafari: Unconquerable tells the story of the birth and evolution of Rasta through videos, installations, artefacts and personal stories. It covers several watershed moments in the history of the movement in segments organized around themes such as Revelation of Rastafari, its Philosophy and Evolution, and the 1966 visit to Jamaica of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I. It also features a review of the attempts at suppression of the movement by Jamaican authorities, by far one of the most appalling periods in our history.

Rastafari Exhibition, Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey
Rastafari Visionaries
Visionaries
Rastafari Exhibition
Haile Selassie in Jamaica, 1966

Rastafari has come a long way since Lionel Howell, the first Rasta, founded Pinnacle, the home he established for his followers, and Marcus Garvey advised the poor and downtrodden to look to Africa for the crowning of a black king who would deliver them out of poverty.  It’s exciting to see the museum finally undertaking this important step in recognizing Rasta’s influence on the society, and their presence in the world.

Rastafari exhibition
Haile Selassie

One thing that struck me about the exhibition was its stillness, its flatness. It was as if the breath, power, vitality and passion that pulses through Rastafari could not, as the title suggests, be conquered even in this exhibition that celebrates Rastafari; the Movement which grew out of struggle, with larger than life visionaries who fought against the system, could not be tamed. Still, it’s an excellent first exhibition, a must see.

Rastafari: Unconquerable remains on view at the Institute of Jamaica, 10-16 East Street, Kingston. 876-922-0620, Admission $5

 

The Rhumba Box

While waiting in the immigration line at the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay a few years ago, I heard the unmistakable sound of a mento band. They were playing a familiar tune, Take Her to Jamaica, and as I waited, I tapped my feet lightly and hummed along.

The singing got louder as I exited immigration on my way to pick up my luggage from the carousel. By now, I could see the musicians – three or four of them. One was playing a rhumba box, a percussion instrument that I hadn’t seen in years.

Rhumba box, Jamaica
Rhumba box

The rhumba box is a two foot square wooden box. It has a hole in the center to which is attached five metal strips that are tuned to different pitches. At that size, it’s also a seat for the musician and allows him to reach the metal keys.

The rhumba box originated from the African mbira, or thumb piano. It made its way to Cuba, where it’s called the marímbola, then to other countries. In Jamaica, it’s synonymous with mento, the folk music that is a precursor to ska and reggae.

Sitting on the rhumba box, he strummed the metal strips to hold the rhythm for the guitar and the maracas players as they belted out the words to another song, This Long Time Gal.

I watched many stoic faces relax and smile as they heard the music. I was still humming to myself as I walked out of the airport.

Click here to listen to the sound of the rhumba box and here to hear a mento version of Amy Winehouse’s Rehab by the Jolly Boys.

 

I’m linking this post to the weekly photo linkup, Travel Photo Thursday, at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out other photos from locations around the world. Enjoy!

 

5 Reasons to Visit St. Thomas, Jamaica

I never made it to St. Thomas, located on Jamaica’s southeastern coast, until I was in high school. As part of our graduation celebration, our teacher organized a day trip around the island that brought us not to Morant Bay, its historic capital, but to Prospect Pen to view the Jamintel Earth Station* that had opened some years earlier. I still have the grainy photo of us posing primly in our navy school uniforms with part of the satellite station in the background.

St. Thomas, the 9th largest parish on the island, is bordered on its northern end by the Blue Mountains. Its diverse landscape includes mountains and wetland areas. The island’s only east-west river, the Plantation Garden, is located in the parish.

Bath Fountain plaque, St. Thomas Jamaica
Plaque at Bath Fountain

St. Thomas was established in 1662 and named for Thomas, Lord Windsor, who was governor of Jamaica at that time. It was known then as St. Thomas in the East. The name it was shortened to St. Thomas around 1866 when the number of parishes was reduced from 22 to 14.

St. Thomas has been home to the indigenous Taino Indians, Spanish, British and Maroon communities. Archeologists have found remnants of Taino settlements, dating to 650AD, in several locations in the parish.

Continue reading “5 Reasons to Visit St. Thomas, Jamaica”

Jamaica @51: Rice and Peas or the Jamaican Coat of Arms

Welcome to another #FoodieTuesday!

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Today, Jamaica celebrates her 51st year of Independence. There have been many changes in the country since 1962, notably in the way we eat.

Take rice and peas, for example. (Rice and peas is affectionately referred to as the Jamaica Coat of Arms, though I haven’t been able to find out why.) When I was growing up in rural Jamaica, we had rice and peas only on Sundays and on special occasions, like Christmas or Easter. Now, there’s rice and peas on almost every restaurant menu every day of the week.

The Easter bun and cheese that we had only at Easter is just as commonplace.

Rice and Peas with vegetables
Sunday meal – rice and peas with vegetables and meat

Back then the patty, a meat-filled turnover, was our main fast food and a popular lunch item for school children. With international chains like KFC, Burger King and Domino’s, along with the homegrown chains, Island Grill, Tastee, and Juici Patties in almost all fourteen parishes, we have a variety of fast food restaurants to choose from now.

Sundays still are special. For most of us, it’s the day we pause, bring family around the dining table to share the meal.

But it’s not always rice and peas. I’m no longer wedded to the Jamaican Coat of Arms on Sundays because I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. But I wouldn’t plan a Christmas or Easter dinner without it on the menu.

 

How has your eating habits changed in the last twenty years?

 

How to Make Rice and Peas

Ingredients

3 cups of rice
2 cups of fresh red kidney beans (or Pigeon peas or a can of kidney beans)
5 cloves of garlic
1 can of coconut milk
1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper
3 scallion (spring onions)
3 sprigs of fresh (or 2 teaspoons of dried) thyme
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper

 

Preparation

Wash and soak peas overnight or put to boil in a medium saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Add garlic and a little salt to taste.
When peas are soft, add coconut milk and seasonings – thyme, Scotch bonnet, 2 sprigs of scallions, black pepper, and remaining salt, if needed.
Let cook for a few minutes then add the rice.
Cover and cook until the rice is tender and there’s no more liquid.
Plate and garnish with remaining scallion. Serve with your choice of meat or alone.