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Beyond cooking

Food and memories in the kitchen

When I was a young girl growing up in Kingston, Easter was always fun, but with a slight touch of sadness, you know, the death of Christ bit, which was inescapable growing up religious. Still, the fun part was the food that caters to my sweet tooth. The tradition was that we would celebrate Easter with “Easter bun & cheese,” store bought, similar to that of a fruitcake, in the shape of a loaf of bread and the cheese…

Thinking back, I shiver a little because it was a hub of processed food. But it was delicious! Alas, I no longer eat that stuff, now that I know. Nonetheless, my memory of Easter is still fond. To me, it was similar to that of Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., which is not officially celebrated in Jamaica, there are already plenty of holidays there.

Looking back, I’ve always enjoyed spending time sitting by the doorway of the dining room that led to the open kitchen, watching and admiring my grandmother. She was my hero, the ultimate superwoman- taking care of her extended family and ailing husband, while managing their grocery store business. Back then I was just a child; carelessly drifting about. But one of my favorite things to do was to lie by the doorway and watch as she prepared a multitude of foods for the family and for the store to be sold. What stands out most about that time is how the kitchen was my haven, not merely because of all the great stuff she was making, but how heavenly it felt to be in the kitchen just watching her without a care in the world.

That’s how I feel now every time I enter my kitchen. It makes me think of her and I sometimes eat my meals in the kitchen standing as she did occasionally, which annoys my husband a bit, but he understands that it’s my way of feeling connected to her, even though I lost her nearly 20 years ago. And, what remains is how important it is to me that my kitchen is lived-in and messy and fun and open to anyone welcomed in my home, which is one of the reasons I love all things Nigella Lawson. I just love how she makes cooking and being in the kitchen simply joy…

the kitchen

“The Kitchen really is the castle itself. This is where we spend our happiest moments and where we find the joy of being a family” – Mario Batali

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