There has been new and delicious food every single day since I arrived here in country. In my host family’s home, they are very health conscientious. Little or no sugar, 98% of things are prepared from scratch, little salt, and little dairy (if something calls for milk, Rosanna, host mom, makes fresh coconut milk!). Did you catch that? Me, in a house with little or no sugar/sweets. If that isn’t a test, I don’t know what is, lol. Some of my favorite dishes have been baked bread fruit with salt (island version of french fries), bread fruit with garlic and cheese, cucumber salad, grated salad on a bed of lettuce, potato salad, all the homemade juices such as passion fruit and tamarind, smoothies, and fried plantains.
Today, however, was the first time I had a traditional St. Lucian meal: Salt Fish fritters, bakes, and cucumber salad along with cocoa tea. It took nearly three hours to prepare everything. It’s a good thing Rosanna, my host mom, loves to cook! Want to know the kicker about Salt Fish? It is imported! From Canada! That’s right, it isn’t even a native fish here. I was shocked.
I took notes on the prep of this meal as I’ll be on my own in just a few short days. I know there is a lot to learn and do but I feel content in just going slow. I figure it’ll all come in time. I don’t need to learn EVERYTHING today because then there’d be nothing for me tomorrow. I helped to a small degree in preparation and cooking. The most nerve wracking part was lighting the gas stove with a match. I am highly cautious; I don’t like dealing with grease or hot things in general. It makes me
sweat! I was burned, in a minor way, as a toddler from playing with matches. One stuck to my finger and burned me. Ever since, it truly colored my view of fire. In spite of this, I was able to drop in the fritters and bakes as well as flip them. I only over cooked one…not too shabby!
It is so cool that we can go in the back yard to knock down a Pawpaw (Papaya), pick herbs and/or vegetables for our meals. I know we can do similar things in the US yet it hasn’t been in my everyday life really ever. I love that we can do it here. It seems everyone around us grows as much as they can. It’s in line with the #foodisfreeproject for which I subscribe. We truly can plant and harvest things for food at home. Even if I do it a little, I will help stretch the all mighty dollar or in my case, the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar.
Want to know what the best part of dinners are with my host family? The togetherness. One such time, Najah decided she wanted to share embarrassing stories. Well, that got all of us rolling in laughter as we took turns divulging dirt about ourselves! It was fabulous and exactly how I envision family dinners. It’s a joy to watch my siblings so happy, eager to engage, and love eating their mother’s meals. Good food and good company.
Stay tuned…because I’m not sitting on the sidelines of life.
~Brie Messier, MBA