This week, I am on a little vacation. Although I am in very familiar surroundings, it’s always a pleasure to have foods which remind me of my childhood and home. Isn’t it amazing how food and tastes can take you back to places and situations? So many of our memories are associated with tastes and familiar odors. Tasting something that we not have had in a while may evoke memories and emotions. This past week has been a trip down memory lane as I visit my family.
I love curry! My husband and kids love to tease me as they know if I ever see curry on a menu, I will usually order it. Growing up in Guyana, we had curry at least once a week. Much to my chagrin, when I moved to Haiti, I discovered that curry was almost unknown there. Ever since, I have been buying my whole spices such as garam masala, fennel, coriander, fenugreek and cumin and storing them in my freezer. Whenever I travel home, I have to stock up on my coveted fiery wiri wiri peppers, Guyanese fine leaf thyme, mango achar and some casreeep for making our national dish, pepperpot. These are bits of home which allow me to make my own memories in my kitchen in Haiti.
Muscovy duck curry
Yesterday I went to Sheik’s, a small but well known Guyanese bakery and roti shop in Fort Lauderdale. I bought Rotis and daal puris as well as potato balls with a good lashing of tamarind sauce. These were meant to accompany the Muscovy duck and goat curries that were being prepared for dinner at my parents. As there was also a small grocery on site, I also took the opportunity to get some old favorites. I got salara ( rolled sweet bread with pink coconut filling), tennis rolls ( slightly sweet bread with lemon essence) Milo, Ovaltine biscuits and Jamaican Ting! It was a nostalgic afternoon with many wonderful Guyanese acquisitions.
It has been many years since I have lived in Guyana; 31 to be exact. I have wonderful childhood memories of the country of my birth, my family and friends and the way things were back then. Guyana today is so different from the one of my youth, or at least the one with which I am most familiar. Although much has changed, the amazing food I grew up knowing and to which I associate so many great memories, is still the same. I am thankful for my years in Georgetown. I remember buying spicy pickled mango, gooseberries and golden apple marinating in big jars on the side of the road. On my walk from Bishops’ high school to my grandmother’s house, there were many vendors with tempting offerings along my route. Sometimes, I would stop to buy snow cones with sweetened condensed milk, tamarind balls, “chicken foot” ( thin strips of fried chickpea flour dough)and tamarind sour, potato balls, and puris doused with mango sauce and freshly pressed sugar cane juice..Ah, those were the days!
It’s been a lovely week with family.