Michelle Ray is part of the blogger’s maternal family from Old Harbour Bay, Jamaica.
Michelle is in the process of writing a memoir using recipes inspired by the people who have had an impact on her early life. Here below is an appetizer for the project, Michelle’s introduction to the book.
From my earliest memories, I have always been imbued with the sense that anything was possible, and that the world and all that it held was not limited to my immediate environment. Unbelievingly, I recognized this from an early age on a relatively small island in the Caribbean, in a relatively small fishing village.
It can be said that my grandparents’ influence on my earliest culinary memories have resonated far longer than any other memory. I have such vivid memories of coffee beans roasting on zinc sheets over an open fire. My grandmother would pound the tiny coffee beans and after roasting them, she would steep them in hot water then sweeten with condensed milk and serve the coffee in huge enamel mugs.
I knew this one thing however…I loved to cook.
The late Ena Henry Williams was in the house this weekend as we revived the spirit of Auntie’s Hot Spot. Too bad, I thought, that Anthony Bourdain did not get that once in a lifetime encounter with Auntie to experience, in Auntie’s company, the bounty of sea food in Old Harbour Bay from the lively traffic in fish at the beach to the preparation and serving at the Hot Spot. I am sure that Bourdain would have found the ambiance quite appealing.
We had the pleasure of recruiting some of the culinary imagination from Old Harbour Bay testing a couple of recipes from the projected book of cousin Michelle, the Old Harbour Bay expatriate. Yellow split pea soup with choka and curried lobster were on our menu but Ena and Old Harbour Bay were on our minds.
The rewards of a couple of hours of preparation for Michelle’s recipes are evident from the photos below: a delicious, full bodied vegetarian soup and a main course featuring chunks of lobster in a creamy, silky sauce with the lustre of gold, draped sensuously over a bed of fresh, steaming white rice.
Add to the meal the heat of the Caribbean afternoon, a couple of bottles of Heineken and a cast of interesting characters with funky names: Lettuce, Sledge Head, Stylo, Doc, Basie, and we would have had the recipe for the Old Harbour Bay experience, presided over and sponsored by the inimitable Aunt Sis.
Alas, after the fabulous meal we were still thousands of kilometres from Old Harbour Bay on an island in the Pacific Northwest.
Thank you Michelle for the excuse to indulge ourselves in the taste of your Caribbean, even if the sights smells and sounds of Old Harbour Bay are lacking.
Click on photos to enlarge
Diverse and multi-faceted:
A mélange, textured, flavoured and molded,
Shaped by events, by time, by place, by ideas, by memories,
And by the impact of the lives of a thousand other souls: in a never ending chain.
In the fullness of time we also become elements in the countless ingredients, social and biological,
For the expression of
Garry G 2016