Ohhhhh have mercy, its island lunch time. Somewhere on the island, at this very moment, someone is have salfish souse, provisions and calaloo. Yes man, its a feast for a third world king I tell you.
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.
Ohhh what is a tropical boy to eat for a snack on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Hmmmm, nothing store bought, no chocolate, no candy, I want something really sweet but natural. Ohhh te choices, Mangoes, plumbs, mammie apples, bananas, skinups, oh man, what shall I have. I stood at the back door looking out at the garden, that’s when it hit me, Sugar Apples, yes, that’s sweet real sweet. I ran out to the tree, oh yes, luckily there was some rip ones on the branches. I picked a couple, sit down under the shade of the tree and bit into one. Ohh the creamy goodness, like nature had grown ice-cream straight out of the ground. Yes, yes, this is the life.
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.
Morning have broken, the skies are slowly turning from gray to tropical blue. The rooster was perched in the plumb tree crowing its head off. The yard dog stood under the tree barking at it. A gray white cloud lazily floated across the sky. Island boy stretched and yarned, ahhh yes, it was the beginning of summer holidays. A whole summer to go simmer down on the beach, go diving, wind surfing, sailing, and lets not forget the cook ups on the beach. Ahhh some fried fish, fish cakes, lobster, crab and calaloo. Man, all this day dreaming about food was making him hungry. He looked around the kitchen, what will he have for breakfast this morning. Ahhh yes, some saltfish souse sounds real good this morning, fry it down with some onions, garlic, tomatoes and yes a little pepper. And I do believe Mommy Charles had made some bakes last night, that will go real good with the saltfish souse. Oh and yes, I can make a hot cup of coacoa tea to drink with that.
Yes, this was a hearty breakfast for a busy island boy.
Ohhh what can an island boy have for lunch. Hmmm, Maybe some stewed chicken with rice and peas, or maybe some fried fish with provisions, noooo, hmmmm, what will he ever eat. Wait a second, wait just one second, I have an idea, how about some curried shrimp. Ohhh yes, with all kinds of vegetable added, some pepper, ohhh man, that would just hit the spot. Hmmm, I know, I know, he can go to the back yard, pick some passion fruit,
and make a pitcher of Passion fruit juice. Yes man, this boy really know how to eat.
Ahhhhh a quiet Monday, well quiet Monday morning. I can smell the food cooking, hear the calypso music coming from the old fashion radio in the drawing room. We had just gotten back from the Poppy Day parade, oh the pageantry, police in their white tunics, black pants with the red strip down the sides. They 303 riffles perched on their shoulders. The white helmet with the shiny silver points, their black boots had sparkles like stars in the moonlight. Cadets from the secondary schools, scouts, veterans, all marching through the city to the police band. Now here we were, Me and Mommy Charles in the kitchen, cooking up a storm. I was not old enough to do most of the cooking, so here I was mimicking all I had seen her done over the years and by the scent coming from the pot, it is sure that I learned from the best. Man, you should see all the food as I packed it into containers to take to the beach. Avocados, yams, plantains, green figs, (green bananas) dashin, and to go with that some saltfish souse. Ohhh yes, this meal is fit for a royal family. Now the decision on what to drink, hmmmm, oh I know, how about some homemade Mango juice ohhhh yes, that will hit the spot on the beach.
Ohhhh yes, I did a little dance cause if I did not stop myself I would have drank it all right there. Now its off to the beach for the picnic.
Ahhhh my favorite, Crix biscuits, man how I loved those. I would sneak a bag of it from the kitchen, tip toed to the fridge, got a jar of Guava jelly, humming softly with delight. Spread the jelly on the Crix biscuits, do a little dance, but stopped as the wooden floors creaked, looked around to make sure I would not get caught in the act. Before I knew it the bag was almost empty, I thought about putting some of them back in the bag, too late, that Guava jelly was all over them. So I wrapped up the rest and tucked them in my pants pocket, maybe this bag will be forgotten. I snuck into my room, cringing every time the floorboards creaked. I would sit at the window, looking out at the ocean crunching on Crix, covered with Guava jelly.
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.