Sunday, June 21, 2009
Once I started thinking about Trinidad I remembered various things like Hops Bread, these are big round rolls, crusty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.
The smell of Hops Bread is different to any other bread smell, don't know why that is but it is true.
Smelt it again, that unique smell in 1997 when I visited Trinidad for the first time since we left in 1962.
Once I started thinking about Trinidad I recalled the first time I had eaten Trinidad food since our departure in 1962, was when I visited my half sister Carole in 1975.
I went to stay for the weekend at the house she was living at in Barnes, London.
Her ex had also just arrived from Trinidad, he had amongst other things avocados and mangos and rum and lime and tamarind balls with him plus chickens and okra and plantain.
He had most of the ingredients for a good Trinidad meal with him.
Carole made curried chicken properly; she burned the sugar, and then added the curry spices and chicken pieces.
She made coo coo which is a okra and cornmeal pudding left to set and either turned out of cups or one pudding bowl.
She also made rice and peas, with pigeon peas and side dishes of fried plantain and dhal and avocado and chopped cucumber with salt and pepper and vinegar.
Carole had also made my favourite mango pickle, which is mango and salt and pepper and vinegar and there was Matauk’s Pepper Sauce (Trinidad Hot Pepper Sauce)
This was a feast for me like I had not had for ages, this was down home food and after dinner we ate mangos and drunk rum punch and ate hot channas (roasted spiced chick peas) and tamarind balls (tamarind with hot pepper and sugar).
Will never forget this feast, this was such an important event for me when for awhile I felt a real connection with the place I was born.
That was also the summer my half sister’s took me to a Trinidad Gala Dinner and Dance party to celebrate the visit of Sir Garfield Sobers to England.
He had been the West Indian Cricket Team Captain, and was the best cricketer ever.
He was in the country to receive his Knighthood from the Queen.
The party for him was spectacular, Trini food and drinks in abundance plus I was introduced to the great man himself by my sisters and he asked me to dance.
Well Wow! I danced with Gary Sobers, the best cricketer ever.
These two things gave me back a tiny part of my Trinidad identity and in 1997 when I got back to my Little Island in the Sun I discovered it was really as beautiful as I remembered and still remember.