I grew up in Trinidad, an island of
magic, superstition and good cooking. My memories are of everyone in the
kitchen. My mother and father both worked, so they cooked together. In
Trinidad, a lot of men cook and my mother learned some dishes from my
father. If there was a dish I liked, my mother would teach it to me. I
started cooking at eleven.
In Trinidad, when we talk about cooking
for the family we mean aunts, uncles, grandparents. There were always
people floating around, and I remember the busy kitchen. Maybe my mom
would be making cocoa from fresh beans, maybe a stew with salt fish, usually
cod, that everyone loves so much. And black cake which is another classic
in Trinidad. My mother makes the best one ever. While my mother was in the kitchen,
my father would be outside doing 'bakes.' He called it fire above, fire
below because he would bake the dough in a heavy iron pot that was in
the middle of two fires.My family has moved all over the world
by now. Some are in Germany, England, the United States. We have brought
our traditions with us, even though we can't get the exact ingredients.
Hot peppers are different there. A lot of people have bird pepper trees.
We call them that because they grow peppers that ware like a small jalapeño
and the birds love them. We can't get them outside Trinidad, but we substitute
hot pepper flakes or jalapeños. It's never quite the same, but
substitution means that we can eat the food we love and carry on our traditions.
Donnell is a producer/rap artist. He
studied business and human/social biology in college, but music called.
Since he left Trinidad, he has performed in clubs in New York City and
has recently cut a demo .
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