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“I don’t know how long I kept at it…

I felt reasonably safe, stretched out on the floor, and lay quite still.

It didn’t seem to be summer any more”

-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.

The dog days of summer-the most sultry time of the year. July’s weather is so hot right now, with 101 degree temp outside and the loft inside hovering at 80.  If I stay completely still, I can actually feel cooler.

I intentionally picked July to cook Jamaican food fare. I could not have picked a hotter month or time.  I can imagine Jamaican summer nights cooking over a barbecue pit with my Harry Belafonte blaring and the jerk chicken doing its thing. Oh mon, I don’t have to pretend the Jamaican heat at all. It’s  like  intolerable closeness to the sun and heat.

But enough talk about smokin’ hot, sweltering like temperatures. Let’s talk food. I tried to add a component of breakfast and sweetness for a more complete Jamaican picture. Notice the British and Spanish influences in the menu. Both countries ruled the island for over five centuries.  Interestingly, Jamaica’s food influences make up many countries: Africa (salted fish, mackerel and bananas); English (bush teas); India and China (think curries and bok choy). Much more later on food influences.

Here’s what’s cooking this week:

  • Sardines, water crackers and fried plantains, “Bush Tea” -peppermint tea (breakfast)
  • Salted Mackerel with boiled green bananas (breakfast)
  • Bammy Cake (yucca-Breakfast)
  • Pop Chow -(bok Choi)
  • Codfish Balls
  • Cucumber Cups
  • Scotch Eggs – a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, rolled in breadcrumb and fried)
  • Bean Salad
  • Rice and Peas
  • Baked Stuffed Chocos (Chayote)
  • Steamed Fish
  • Shrimp Florentine
  • Sweet Plantains
  • Jerk Chicken

I leave you with some lyrics from “Coconut Woman” by Harry Belafonte:

Coconut
Coconut
Coconut
Coconut
Coconut woman is calling out
And everyday you can hear her shout
Coconut woman is calling out
And everyday you can hear her shout
Get your coconut water, four for five
Man it’s good for your daughter, four for five
Coco got a lotta iron, four for five
Make you strong like a lion, four for five

A lady tell me the other day
No one can take her sweet man away
I ask her what was the mystery
She say coconut water and rice curry

You can serve it very hot, four for five
Coco got a lotta iron, four for five
Make you strong like a lion, four for five

Coconut woman says you’ll agree
coconut make very nice candy
The thing that’s best if you’re feelin’ glum
Is coconut water with a little rum
It could make you very tipsy, four for five
Make you feel like a gypsy, four for five
Coco got a lotta iron, four for five
Make you strong like a lion, four for five

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