Everybody! That’s who…
For as long as I can remember cooking dinner in the Stewart house, in all our Suburban awesomeness, means that at some point or the other everyone in the family lends a hand in completing an aspect of the meal. I’m talking about the drinks, the raw vegies, the steamed vegies, the rice and peas, the mac and cheese (whether home made or from the box), the potato salad, the meat(s) ad the occasional cake or pastry (either from scratch or from a box or sachet mix) . Mind you, we don’t always cook all those lovely items for one dinner. It all depends on the reason for whichever season.
In Jamaica, once a meal is being cooked to be shared among the ones we love and cherish we say “we ah run a boat”.
In the case of my family…if it’s a regular Sunday dinner then its a yacht that gets run, if it’s Christmas then its not a boat that gets run; but a freaking ship! The same or similar ship sails in for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Any other spectacular dinner of awesome sorts would be for some other celebration.
World, please consider the fact that perceptions are relative. What I may consider a yacht may very well be a boat to others and the same considerations should be had for the ship and the regular boat.
The preparation of our dinners always start at least one day in advance, depending on the reason for dining. We get the meat (whatever meat it may be) and we sort it out with some cleaning and washing and then tenderizing, if necessary. After all that fun stuff is completed, we season it good and proper then put it down to marinate and soak een some flavours of the herbs and spices and the likkle processed sauces and powder shake up seasonings. When it’s time to sort out the peas for the rice and peas we choose between the red peas (some of you may know it as kidney beans) or the good ole green or dried gungo peas. After the peas selection, we wash it off with some water and then put it to soak in a bowl of water (not too much fi drown d peas though) that’s seasoned with some other herbs and spices. We always set aside the coconut (whether grated and juiced or from the sachet) and the big hellova green scotch bonnet pepper to give the rice and peas the umph we all love. For the rice, we wash it and pick out the “dirty”or the “ugly looking deformed grains”.
Every other item on the dinner menu gets sorted out on the morning of dinner time, yuh understan. As I digress a little to the breakfast…So while the good up good up breakfast is being cooked by almost everybody in the family, the rest of us do whatever in the house; straighten up furniture, make the beds and ting an ting. Once we’re in the mood, this part usually happens at grams house though, everybody drink some tea. Now where I’m from, we call tea, coffee, cocoa, hot chocolate and other similar hot beverage, tea. That’s how it’s been and it shall continue that way.
No, we’re not ignorant we just prefer to keep that aspect of our own culture while we dine. So to the upper echelon natives (who love skin up dem nose and laugh after people who speak nothing like them) that you have World, tell them to go and suck a proper bollo. Coffee is tea, hot chocolate is tea, cocoa is tea, tea is tea!
Back to my letter.
After the breakfast is done and ting. We laze round likkle and then get back to dinner. Everybody plays their role well in the achievement of our overall goal, preparing the sexiest dinner on the block. We chop, slice, dice, stir, taste, cut up up, mix up, blend up, boil, bake, chill and any other food description you can think of while we cook dinner. We all work together to achieve that goal and we enjoy the fruits of our labour all the time. I can’t tell you everything about our process because then it would be the World family dinner cooking style and no longer that of the Stewart family. No hard feelings World. I still love you. Just know that the food is ever shotting before it done, while it ah done and when it done.
One of the many things I’ve admired about my family, immediate and extended, is that we always have to put a liikle of the good up food away for some friend that we may have to share our meal with. If we don’t put it away or just can’t bother to do so, we invite them over! After all, we can’t all stuff our bodies into niggeritis (:o, yes, Worldly Americans… I used the N word. Now charge me) selfishly and not share our meal with others. Doing so will go against our core principle in life.
Give and do, not because you expect anything in return but because you want to and because you can.
Who cooks the dinner in your house?
Signed with love,