Ohhh what oh what could Mommy Charles be planning for lunch. This island boi was real hungry. I heard her in the kitchen, the pots clanging, the knives, pot spoon and bowls hitting the kitchen counter as she prepare. Oh man the excitement. You would think as much as I love to eat I would a least have some meat on my bones, but noooo, I was a real skinny kid who would be swept away in a strong wind. Yes man, food was my addiction, especially when Mommy Charles cooked. Sitting in my room, listening to her every move was just as exciting as sitting at the table wolfing down whatever she cooked. What was more exciting is when she called me to the kitchen to help, here I was only eight years old helping mommy Charles create a culinary masterpiece. I see rice, seasoned chicken, cucumbers, Lettuce, tomatoes, I know, I know exactly what was brewing. A good old Pelau, oh yes, rice cooked with chicken and browned to a golden colour. Pepper, all kinds of seasoning and the vegetable as a side dish. Oh man, the best Saturday eating.
Some Sundays, Mommie Charles just kept the feast simple. Ahhh yes, simple but still a delight to the taste buds. Something easy like this plate of stew chicken, yes, all the season in there, pepper, chives, thyme, onions, garlic, a dash of salt, tomatoes added, green peppers. Yes I tell you. Boiled green figs (bananas) and plantains. Ahhhh yes, then all that was left to do is fix a plate, take it to the veranda, go back into the living room and turn on the radio, find some nice soft music, head back outside. Now the trick to give the provisions a final zesty taste is to sprinkle the gravy from the chicken on it. Ohhhh the party that is going on in your mouth. Only Mommy Charles can make the simplest meal fit for a boy.
Ahhh yes, some Jamaican eating, yes man, plenty ah good eating can be had in Jam Rock. Ohhhh lets try up the national dish. We could go up in country, oh dally down to Kingston town, but you must try some of that Ackee and Salfish. Tonight, maybe you can have some rice and fried plantain with it too. Ohhh yes some sweet, sweet Jamdung eating in the place.
Jerk Chicken Pizza, ohhhh I will have to try this. I am not a pizza eater but with a littler island flare like this I may partake of this.
Well, well, well, what would have been for Sunday lunch when I was a kid. I heard Mommy Charles in the kitchen, she was humming again. I wanted to get up and go see what she was doing but instead, I stayed in my room and sniffed the air. Wait a second, wait a bloody second, is that seasoned chicken, hmmm, I do believe so. Looks like there is more hot pepper in it than usual. Hmmm, smells like there is a little curry in there too. Man this is going to be great as usually. I wonder what next she doing. I heard the pot clanking, the spoon hitting the kitchen counter. Then I heard a cracking sound, I thought, hmm what could that be? After the second crack, I knew exactly what it was, corn. Man, I was intrigued now, what was Mommy Charles up to. I heard the crumple of a brown paper bag opening, the quiet thud of flour falling into a pan. Ohhh could that be the beginnings of dumpling. A few seconds later I know I was right as I heard the pan scrape across the counter as she kneaded the flour. Then I heard the chopping of tomatoes and the bubbling of water in the pot. Still I tried to figure out what she was cooking. The scent floated from the kitchen throughout the house and into my room. The quiet Sunday was interrupted by my stomach rumbling. I got up walked through the drawing room and peeped into the kitchen, Mommy Charles was not in there. I looked at the pot, steam and aroma bellowed out of it. I looked around making sure I was alone, after all I was too young to mess with a hot pot. I tip toed into the kitchen, stood looking down at the pot on the coal pot. Without thinking I picked up the cover, ohhh what I saw was so enticing, it was a chicken soup, one of my favorite meals. Ohhh yes, there was corn, dumplings, chicken, dashin, and some tanyas floating in there, and of course I could smell the butter. And the smell was so intoxication I almost fell over like the village drunk. I was so engrossed with the food I did not pay attention to my burning finger. I screamed and dropped the pot cover. Immediately Mommy Charles said. “Andy, you not interfering with the pot of food are you?” “No mamie.” I said dancing around and waving my hand in the air. I found a kitchen towel, picked up the hot cover and recovered the pot. That scent made me forget my burning fingers. I walked back towards my room, stopped to snag a banana from the dining room table, after all, that damn cooking made me hungry. Thus was the magic of Mommy Charles cooking.
Hmmm, what would hit the spot while I sit out here watching the clouds float by, watching the stars fade into the blue skies, listening to the donkey bray, children in the vegetable gardens helping their parents work, ahhh yes, some melons, now that go hit that spot.
Ahhh yes, wouldn’t this be nice, something simple, something tasty, ahhh yes, I could taste it now, bakes, avocado washed down with a cold glass of Sea moss, yes man, that is what should be eaten on a nice warm Saturday afternoon.
Lunch, lunch, lunch. Ohhhh yes, Calaloo, cucu lentels, tomatoes and is that chicken I see. Ohhhh yes, to really enjoy, well for me that is, you have to sit where you can hear the ocean rolling up on the sand, or, you can sit next to the window and hear the wind rustle through the mango tree, or sit in the verandah so you can smell the rose bushes. Yes man, its Sunday lunch, sit back, enjoy the peace and full you belly.
Ahhh yes, its Sunday morning, time to get up and sit at the window and watch the sun set. Listen to the sounds of Mummy Charles moving around in the kitchen. Ohhhhshe is cooking up something. Whats that I smell, corn meal porridge with a stick of cinnamon, fresh milk from Uncle Cromwells cow, and sugar cane sugar to give it that sweetness that can come from island cane fields. Now my eight year old stomach is rumbling, because now that over powering smell of coconut bakes frying up. I can hear the pop and crackle of the heating oil accompanied by Mummy Charles singing.
Now my stomach is going crazy, like a volcano had erupted in there, I could not wait, nooo, I had to head to that kitchen, sit at the dining room table, hope and pray that she would take pity on me and give me a sample, just one small sample before I set the table for breakfast,
Ohhh its like culinary heaven, Pasta with tropical spices, all the vegetables possible and chicken, lightly peppers, stewed in a taste exploding sauce. If you close your eyes, you can almost see the colours you are tasting. Then later, you sit at your window, look out at the ocean littered with small boats and enjoy:
Yes, yes yes, a slice of Pumpkin pudding. Ohh the cinnamon, ohhh the nutmeg, ohh the taste of natural sugar cane sugar straight from the cane fields right behind your house. Oh one can only daydream of such a life.