Ask Giggles, my 6-year old, what her favorite food is and she’ll say – without blinking an eyelash – TACOS!
Where did I go wrong?
Not that there’s anything wrong with tacos. Who doesn’t love tacos? It’s just that, as someone who identifies so strongly with her Caribbean heritage her choice of foods rings false; traitorous, even. Pose exactly the same question to my sister and I and the answer will invariably be:
(am I right, Lisa?)
Admittedly, not all Caribbean foods – but mostly ones that are clearly reminiscent of our heritage and upbringing, being raised in a Trinidadian-Bajan-Guyanese family in Montreal, Quebec. I mean, at least our taste buds have some sense of identity! My kids’ tastebuds, however, are lost and confused.
They are men without a country. <cue the violins>
Because I have led them astray.
I never really tried to replicate the dishes that scream “home” to me on any regular basis when cooking for my family. Sure, I make curry chicken or shrimp from time to time, but who doesn’t? What I want for my kids is for them to be eating pelau or fricassee chicken or saltfish as often as they do spaghetti or BBQ chicken or TACOS. To crave the sounds of Soca or Reggae as opposed to Taylor Swift or Bieber. I had the opportunity to live in Trinidad as a baby; to visit my grandparents there and to grown up eating my (Bajan) Granny’s Guyanese Garlic Pork (that she made for my Guyanese Grandpa) on Christmas.
Now that my children are 3rd generation Caribbean, it’s my job to carry the torch and to keep them grounded in their roots even though we live thousands of miles away from grandparents, coconut trees or sugarcane. That Hubby’s family is Bahamian is exciting because his extended family proudly celebrates their Bahamian roots and make the music, cuisine and customs a regular part of their lives. Our kids went to The Bahamas last year and to a Junkanoo celebration last Christmas in Miami and know their Bahamian flag colors and have fallen in love with Johnny Cake Bread. It’s a start.
So this Sunday for dinner, we are having Trinidadian Pelau with sweet plantains…
It helps that Grandma will be in town to supervise the kitchen olympics.
See a pictorial step-by-step guide to the recipe, courtesy of Tastes Like Home, HERE.