Some time ago, I sat across from my guy, watching the television while he cleaned some ackees in preparation for the ackee and saltfish meal he planned to cook for us the following morning (oh yeah!). Suddenly, he looked up at me, quite perplexed, and said (I’m paraphrasing here): “Di government mus do somting bout […]
I recently stopped by the Coconut Industry Board’s retail outlet, the Coconut Shop, located on Waterloo Road in Kingston to buy a gallon of coconut water. The Coconut Shop also sells other coconut-based products like coconut oil, gizzadas, grater cakes, bustas and coconut drops, as well as other items such as plantain chips, plantain tarts, […]
“We must have both turtle and vegetable soups.”
“… and turtle served in the shell…”
Thus said fictional character, Caroline Mortimer, mistress of fictional sugar plantation, Amity, in Andrea Levy’s historical fiction “The Long Song” (2010). Although a fictional conversation, it does reveal what many historians have found in their research about the gastronomic extent of Jamaica’s plantation days: turtle meat was once greatly indulged in by the colonialists, as well as exported.
That’s right. It was recently brought home to me once again that although I’m far from home, Jamaica can be right here with me in my new location, China. It’s really just a matter of perspective. After all, being Jamaican isn’t just something that happens because it says so in your passport. Nope. Being Jamaican is in the way we move, walk, talk, dance, sing, hold conversations with one another, and in what we eat and how we prepare our foods. So what if all of this and more occurs outside of the physical geographical boundaries of Jamaica Land We Love?
Let me explain…
Have you ever taken a moment to consider the origins of some of our traditional foods? Take the ackee, for instance, Jamaica’s national fruit and one half of our national dish, ackee and saltfish: it was introduced to Jamaica. And so was the breadfruit.
That’s right folks, it’s guinep season! And the vendors are out in their numbers selling this most sought-after yummy summer fruit once again. And in many cases you have the option of tasting the fruit before purchasing. Hence the phrase “taase an buy” (English translation: “taste and buy” or “taste then purchase” or “taste the fruit and, if you like it, then you can purchase”).
Let me tell you something: St. Mary’s banana chips is really tasty and is a quick pick-me-upper when needed, and so is Nicie’s. But while I may tire of these after a while nothing compares with, and I never tire of (ever!), Chippie’s Original Banana Chips by Native Food Packers Ltd. THE BEST BANANA CHIPS EVER!!! (Okay, calm down now Kerry)
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Which is your favourite mango? Is it the Number Eleven, Blackie (definitely one of my favourites!), Julie or it’s official name St. Julian (mmmm, mouth start fi wata jus thinkin bout di Julie mango!), East Indian or Bombay mangoes (considered the Rolls Royce of mangoes in Jamaica, especially Bombay), Stringy (mi cyaan stan’ fi eat dis one but it well sweet!), Beefy, Hayden, Sweetie Come Brush Mi or Common? Whichever mango you prefer, or if you just love all varieties of mangoes you can get your hands on, it is a known fact that Jamaicans on a whole have a love affair with mangoes that has deep roots in our history and culture.