Friday, March 3, 2017

Delicious Jamaica!

Excerpt from Observer column published 27 FEB 2017
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Coconut Drops from Coconut Industry Board website
My sister and brother-in-law who visited recently told me they had to make a stop as they had booked some drops.  You would think they were stopping at a pharmacy, right?  Not at all – they had booked some coconut drops from the little shop at the Coconut Industry Board, because the day before when they checked, it was sold out.  That evening, they were triumphant with their stash of ‘drops’; those clusters of coconut covered with gingery sugar were sweet nostalgia.

St Thomas East Indians are amazing - photo from Pinterest
Then our neighbour brought goodies from St. Thomas: Young Sang’s Bakery duck bread, freshly picked mangoes and naseberries. My delighted sibling held each one as if they were sacraments. 
Sometimes it takes family from abroad to remind us of the amazing gifts of Jamaica.  At a shaded Fort Clarence picnic table, we enjoyed Hellshire fish and festival, and later they got their mandatory Devon House ice cream.  Blue Mountain coffee was a must with such Jamaican breakfast delights as run-down, ackee and saltfish, johnny-cakes, roast breadfruit. 

My sister related a ‘Chippies’ adventure in a West Indian store in Maryland.  She was in the line when she overheard a man mention her daughter’s favourite snack.  “Did you say Chippies?” she asked the man.  “Yes – see them over there in a box.  Take them now if you want them because the box soon empty!”  The price hurt, but she had to do good by her daughter – US$3 per little pack of Chippies banana chips!  So now we know why Chippies is so scarce in Jamaica, why friends tweet packs to tip us off when they get lucky at a gas station.  If Chippies ever lists on the stock market, we should get us some shares.

Mango trees are blossoming profusely and I hope someone will make a Chippies-like success out of them. Dried mango strips are popular in health food stores. Please my friends, if you have those heavily bearing trees, find ways of giving away the mangoes instead of leaving them to rot on the ground.  A box of mangoes left on a gate column with a ‘help yourself’ sign goes empty in no time.  I am still enjoying frozen mango juice in my smoothies from last year’s harvest.  

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