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.
Boi, I fell like ah fish soup. Go to de garden and get some carrots, some figs, pepper. Also bring me some thyme, celery, and rosemary bush, I go cook dung de best fish soup ever. Which one yuh want, red snapper or flying fish eh? Never mind, I go chose. Now get dem ting and dem while I knead up the dough for the dumplings and dem. Oh and pick ah lime too. Yes me friend, I go cook dung some good waters wid nuff nuff ital. in dey. De whole village go want a taste yuh know, cause nobody could cook a fish soup like me, nobody.
Ohh yes, carrots, with provisions, lots of seasoning and off course a dash of pepper. Let it simmer down before adding the dumplings and the green bananas. Ohhh yes, on a day like today, i can sit at my window, watch the rain bounce off the road, hear the wind howl through the buildings and eat my lobster stew.
Ahhhh a chicken soup, dumplings, Irish potato, chicken seasoned, pepper, carrots with slices of pears ((avocado) on the side. A carnival in your mouth, an all night fete in your stomach.
Ahhhh the tambran, the sweet, sour taste, I used to walked home from school in the hot tropical sun and I always had to walk by this tambran tree, now this tree was not in the usual place, nooooo, it had to be right on the edge of a precipice, dangling over the cliff, the ocean forty feet below, rocks stuck out of the emerald swirl. I stood looking at the tree, its branches laden with the with the desired fruit. In walked us to its trunk, the waves crashed against the rocks below. My heart raced up as I grabbed a low branch an hoisted myself into the tree. The branch bent under my weight and for a second I hesitated. But the lust for that sweet taste of tambran balls lingered in my mouth. I swung from branch to branch, filling up my pockets, and when they were filled, I filled up by book bag. I felt the wind whip around me, the salty taste of the air around me. I shimmied down the tree trunk, stumbled, grabbed some bushes and pulled myself away from the cliffs edge. I ran all the way home, into the kitchen, broke the tambrans out of their shells, got some sugar, flour, pepper and salt and mixed it in with the tambran. When all was mixed together, I rolled them into small balls and set them on a plate. I popped one in my mouth, ohhh the sweetness, ohhh the sour, I felt my eyes roll back in my head from the pleasure of it all. It was well worth hanging over a precipice to get to this moment.
One of my favorite Caribbean food, the Pelau, ahhhh yes, its great. I use chicken or seafood, some people use pork, beef and other meat.