Posts tagged ‘Feasting on Waves’

September 21, 2008

In praise of pork


I am on a pork binge lately and have decided that I am now 100% sure it is my favourite meat. I am not sure if the fact the world is observing Ramadan encouraged me to pursue my excessive  indulgence but i have been devouring it at a pace. I suppose we should be happy that two major religions actively discourage eating pork as it probably helps keep the price of it down.


I don’t honestly think there is any meat that can compete with pork for its infinite forms and wonderful ability to stand up to all manner of cooking techniques. Chicken may be ubiquitous but when it comes to flavour my money is on pork. In the last week I have had it braised, fried, baked, steamed, and grilled. Sadly, as much as I laugh at health concerns, I draw the line at tartare..but don’t think I haven’t thought about it. I actually believe my favourite cooking style is crispy skin Chinese roast pork. I am in favour of any recipe that makes a virtue of fat and which allows me to chew on it with complete impunity. I shall buy some tomorrow as I have no idea how to do it myself and will then give pork a rest for at least 24 hours. It is 11pm as I type this and I just realized I am craving pork again. Thank heavens my fridge is full stocked with many forms of it.


In other food news I have just watched  the latest episode of Alton Brown’s Feasting on Waves .  He was in Anguilla and actually pulled me away from the 60th Annual Emmy Awards..well most of the time. Alton was  checking out the Cuisinart Resort and their amazing hydroponic farm and also sampling coconut patties, wines, and even more saltfish. It was interesting as usual but I still find the concentration on small islands a bit irritating because the larger islands have a much broader culinary influence. Ah well, at least the promo for next week promises roti which is a staple of Trinidad cuisine but not pronounced roh-teee as he is  pronounced more like roht-E here. Also, I think the new agreed spelling for the Caribbean sucking noise that we use for everything from frustration to mild amusement is “steups” not what I think he called it which I believe was tooth sucking. I think the folks in Anguilla need to come here for some lessons on how to cut open a coconut to get to the water. It should not be bashed into submission but rather elegantly trimmed and then the top lopped off neatly. Steups.


With my Fodor’s trip looming I plan to make a break from pork to make room for Bonaire goat stew…it may not be pork but when Maiky makes it – it is a thing of beauty.

September 8, 2008

The ultimate melting pot.


Though my intention is to write a bit about the Caribbean as a region I must say today was not a shining example of what most people would expect from us in terms of sun, sand and rum punches. It was a work day so that pretty well puts paid to the alcoholic beverages and being at the office pretty well eliminated the sand thing though my office desk was feeling a tad  gritty. 


It is my custom to walk straight to one of my Macs upon waking to check my newsfeeds and check the weather satellite images at the lovely NHC site. Today I was faced with an inadequate level of info about Turks and Caicos and how they fared and with what appeared to be an ugly red weather system about to descend on Trinidad. By the time I rounded the Queen’s Park Savannah on the way to the office I could see ugly black clouds emerging over the tips of the Northern Range. While disturbing it was also possessed of a terrible beauty that almost led me to crash the Mondeo ( well, that and some interesting human sights on the savannah). I phoned Mookish the cameraman as I was about 30 seconds from work and told him to catch the clouds as they would make useful archive shots for any storm coverage we might want to do. As I parked I met up with him and we managed to capture some great shots including lightning bolts in action. 


It turned out that that was just the beginning of a day of extreme weather for us. It poured to the point that much of Port of Spain was underwater  and our offices turned into an island of sorts as flood waters reached all the way up our driveway. After that it poured some more and didn’t stop pouring for several hours. Apparently we had the lead story for today and, as it turned out, we got off easy as roofs blew off houses in some parts of the country. I must say our crew got some amazing shots of submerged cars, flooded streets and, yes, our shots of black clouds sneaking over the Northern Range complete with lightning. It was still a pretty hectic day and I only got the news script finished four minutes before I had to run into studio to read. Thank heavens for Wong who can view a tape and write a story faster than most people can deny having viewed porn in their browser.


I came home looking forward to a quiet evening of quality Food Network programming only to discover that Alton Brown has a new programme called Feasting on Waves. It is an interesting programme for several reasons not the least of which is that Alton Brown, for all his annoying foibles and smugness, has an amazing knowledge of food. The programme has him and his crew sailing the Caribbean ( at least it seems to be based on our region) and investigating the foods of each island. It was fascinating to see him investigating the foods we take for granted such as soursop, lemongrass, dasheen and salted cod. His first programme was set primarily in St. Kitts which is an interesting island that manages to bridge the dominant influence of Jamaica with the rest of the Caribbean …just hearing their accent was a treat. There is something remarkably pleasurable about watching a food expert like Alton drinking something as Caribbean as bush tea made from lemongrass ( also called vetiver or fever grass here) and enjoying it. I love being reminded that the things we take for granted are considered exotic by much of the rest of the world.


Alton said an interesting thing. He described the history of our region and the various races and ethnicities that make up the wondrous pastiche we call home and he noted that we are probably the first part of the world that understood and embraced fusion cuisine. I don’t necessarily agree as I am pretty sure Southern Europe beat us to the punch but he has a point. The food of our region is spectacularly diverse. We think nothing of dining on a mixture of African, Asian and European cuisines. Many a time I find myself ordering lunch at a nearby fast food establishment and having a container full of curry, creole root vegetables and macaroni pie. To be honest, one of the reasons I moved back here was that I missed the food and the amazing ingredients.  One of my greatest joys is turning classic French or Italian cuisine on its head by substituting local ingredients. I draw the line at screwing with some dishes such as cassoulet but many other things are fair game.


I am happy to hear now that Turks and Caicos did not suffer as badly as they might have and I am hoping that Cuba ( despite my normal distaste for the Latin world) escapes with minimal damage. I have to say that floods, hurricanes and corrupt politicians notwithstanding we are still an incredible part of the world and I am happy I live here.


Now when will Anthony Bourdain deign to come here and make my life complete?