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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Putting the fresh (and the smell) into food

I just completed a marathon of travelling which took in Caymans, Miami, Vienna, and New York.

I had to stay over in every one of those destinations and ate a proper meal in every one.

Then something came to mind.

How fresh is the food. I mean, its a pretty simple question. The answer though isnt quite as easy.

You see in Dominica, I go over to the market for my vegetables and ground provisions or I call Royal George for my beef or pork, Morne Anglais farms for my local chicken, and get my fish and shellfish from San Sauveur. I wont mention the wild game that we get ever now and then.

Usually I can eat meat or vegetables which has had low chemical exposure, within three to four days of being pulled from the ground or sea or being killed. And you can taste the difference.

Caymans was good for the fish. But everything else is shipped in and distributed. Miami...might be decent on seafood but its still not fresh unless you explicitly search I guess. Vienna...I couldnt taste the beef in the beef, and in New York, well lets just say I accept that I am going to eat some stuff that has served some punishment time.

The other odd thing is this. When you step into a supermarket in the US in particular, two things shout out. The sheer size of the vegetables and fruit, and the lack of any, and I mean any smells.

I mean when you walk into a food market in Dominica, you smell everything. Onions, thyme, mangoes, even carrots, and tomatoes. Its like an assault on your nose.

You walk into Western Beef or Pathmark or Publix and you could swear someone has clipped your nasal capacity. Even pineapples stare you in the face with a kind of 'yes I am a pineapple but you cant friggin smell me' look. A pineapple in Dominica quickly becomes a car fragrance if left in the car for any longer than 5-10 minutes.

The flavor of course is key. And fresh fruit, vegetables and meat taste great.

We may not have great restaurants or a vibrant foodie scene, but in reality Dominica is food heaven. You just have to learn to make it for yourself or lean on someone who can.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Freedom to care (or not)

Small Caribbean islands have a high bs to reality quotient because the level of dependency is very strong. In a larger country you dont have to pretend you care or like someone unless they are your boss, your sole client, or in a position of immediate influence on your life.

Its a refreshing freedom that would eliminate many a 'dear friend' here in the Caribbean.

There are however a large amount of decent people who simply want your presence. These people are the elders in our society. They sit alone in many of our houses, needing someone to interact with, argue with, and share with. They just need your time.

If you live in the Caribbean (or anywhere), find an older person in your community and call in on them once every often. It'll help. Honestly...

If you spend your life interacting with people whose main need is to have their egos fed so that they can help you put food on your table, will have many an imaginary friend.