The Best Food Combinations in Jamaica

Some foods are in common law relationships, others dating around and some are in long term marriages. In this post we are only looking at married pairs. These foods belong together and there is no separating them. I believe the persons who made these discoveries should be recognized for their contribution to great food. In no particular order, here are 10 great food pairs we regularly eat in Jamaica.

Bulla and Avocado (pear)

Credit: Pinterest

Bulla is the name given to a flat cake often made with ginger flavor. When combined with avocado releases an explosion of flavor in your mouth. I only purchase bulla when I have avocados.

Ackee and Saltfish

I talked about this in my previous post. Jamaica’s national dish and a top ranked meal on the world’s stage.

Coconut and Corn

Who thought of this???

I have only seen this one place in Jamaica and that is Heroes Circle near cross roads. An unlikely combination that some say works. It didn’t hit the spot for me but you can try it and judge for yourself.

Mackerel and Rice

Mackerel, otherwise called ‘dutty gal’ is the name given to this tinned fish meal. It is also the name given to an inedible social media personality. Though a certain man would disagree 👀. Mackerel is often paired with white rice and is a quick and easy meal that it is alleged no one can spoil. Not even Ms. Little.

Fried fish and Festival

A popular combination along the coast, especially the south coast of the island. Try the festival at Boardwalk beach. Simply divine!

Rice and Peas

If ackee and saltfish wasn’t our national dish, this surely would be. A go-to meal for Sunday dinner.

Jerk Chicken and Bread

Credit: Pinterest

This is our street food! Smoke grilled chicken compressed with flavor makes a great partner for fresh bread.

Curry Goat and Roti

Credit: Pinterest

The Indian roots are strong in this one but we have made it ours! An excellent pair.

Dumpling and Butter

Sometimes simple does it. The easiest meal you will ever prepare from scratch, often associated with low income households, is a delicious treat any day of the week.

Oxtail and Beans

Credit: Pinterest

This one is on the more expensive side but, its worth the expense. With meat cooked tender under pressure, until the flesh slips off the bone is best when simmered with beans. Bikkles restaurant at Sovereign Plaza, Liguanea, used to make great oxtail. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case as the quality has depreciated significantly. If you know another restaurant that makes this well let me know!

Did I miss anything? Have you tried it all?

Ackee and Saltfish: Slave Food to National Dish

If I tell you, you are the ackee to my saltfish, it means I can’t live without you. It means without you I am incomplete. It is interesting to note however that at the Northern Caribbean University they serve ackee and ‘saltish’ where a plant-based substitute is used in lieu of saltfish, given meat is not allowed on campus. Dare I say, that is an incomplete meal? Ackee and saltfish is my favorite Jamaican dish. Coincidently it is the ‘national dish’. It is hard to express in words the taste of ackee and saltfish but a mixture of creamy, buttery and nutty is a good summary.

Ackee to a man’s heart

Ackee is not usually eaten in most other Caribbean countries (unless it’s by a Jamaican). It is considered poisonous and if not mature or cooked properly, it is indeed poisonous. But as they say, low risk, low reward, high risk, high reward. When ripe, the pods are a mixture of yellow, red and Donald Trump orange and they naturally open to reveal the two to four seeds (mostly three). I remember a trip to Trinidad and Tobago I saw an ackee tree loaded with ackee at the UWI St. Augustine campus with no interest among the locals in reaping it. My heart sank. Whenever I go home to the country and it’s ackee season. I take as much as I can carry back to town, cook it and store in my freezer so I can have it whenever. That’s how much I love it.

Ready for storage

How did it get here?

Ackee and salt fish was listed among National Geographic’s top 10 national dishes. Ackee, however, originates from West Africa. It was brought here from West Africa during slavery and it is believed to have been brought here as a cheap nutritious alternative to feed slaves. Salt fish was also brought here as well by slave owners to feed slaves. Ackee and salt fish got married and have been simmering happily ever after. It is also important to note that bread fruit was also brought here to feed slaves however, initially slaves refused to eat it. After slavery Ackee and saltfish was still a very cheap meal and so it remained a part of the diet and has survived through generations. It is interesting to note that the price of salt fish now makes it a luxury item.

How to cook ackee and saltfish like a pro.

After decades of practice I think I now prepare ackee perfectly. Here’s what I do: First I pick and clean the ackee fruit, ensuring the entire seed is removed and place ackee in boiling water with a little salt for six to seven minutes and no longer. Once done drain and set aside. Boil the saltfish to remove excess salt (you can cook ackee in same pot with saltfish). Remove the scales from the fish and pick it into small pieces. Set aside. Chop up the following 7 seasonings; onion, scallion, tomato, thyme, garlic, sweet pepper and half of a hot pepper. Sauté seasonings in vegetable oil then add saltfish and stir occasionally for 3 minutes. Add ackee and sprinkle a pinch of black pepper. Mix at low heat for another six to seven minutes keeping the lid of the pot closed when not mixing. That’s it!

Man made dumplings

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Here’s Why You Should Minimize Social Media Use

For the first time, I updated my relationship status to ‘In a Relationship’ on Facebook. I thought that was something my 5000 friends had to know. After all, I was quite proud of my ‘thickaz’. I can recall popping out of my shell to post a few pics of her, just to let them other brothers know she’s mine. I fell into the social media trap because VERY shortly afterwards ‘Joe Grine’ came and claimed ownership of the same plot of land. It is quite likely he was already a squatter before I was booted. With my tail between my legs, I walked away, leaving my followers hanging. Don’t they deserve to know the end of the story? Shouldn’t I update the participants in my ‘DM’ that it is okay to start trying again? No. But years later I was posting pictures of my next accomplishment. My PhD in Biochemistry (High Commendation). Like a real fassy. That is the social media life, all pleasure, no pain. I was not the only one doing this. Those I followed did the same and that is the big problem with social media.

It brought great pleasure to see people succeed. But then I started to do some self-reflection and I realize that even with years of studies and with very hard work I could not experience life in the manner they did. There is no way I could afford to do the things they do, travel as frequently, buy houses, nice cars and so on. I do appreciate all I have and I am satisfied. However, seeing all the success around you can make you feel less successful than you are and this is how social media can cause anxiety or depression.

Months ago I downloaded an app called Tik Tok, yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Tik Tok quickly realized that I like a certain thing and it kept feeding me with it non-stop! I am particularly fond of ladies with very distinct packages and it is pleasing to admire these packages every once in a while. But with Tik Tok it is packages, packages and more packages. No matter how much I swipe they kept coming rounder wider and bigger. Have me wishing I could ship those packages with Amazon. I love big packages, I cannot lie. I soon realized that I can easily waste half of an hour assessing packages. It was the same situation with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


So What is The Problem?

All these platforms are designed to keep you scrolling. Feeding you with information that they know you want to see first. The more you scroll the better it gets at understanding you.
Isn’t it interesting that such an awesome tool is made available to you for free? It is ‘free’ because you are the product. The design of the social media platform allows for constant engagements with advertisers. I don’t have a problem with the business design of these platforms, but I have a problem with the mental implications it has on the people who use them. Have you ever been in a position where you pick up your phone even when there is no notification, just check if there’s something that you’re missing? If so then you are likely addicted and like all addictive drugs it is hard to get off. I have also noticed that with the addition of statuses on WhatsApp you are constantly scrolling through statuses to be up-to-date with friends activities. This can become time-consuming, addictive and reduces productivity. Social media has been proven to cause depression, a serious mental issue plaguing society today. Social media can be useful if used for business. Produce goods or services with the aim of making money while advertising on the sites. The sites already have the tools to push your products to the people who are interested.

I have decided to take advantage of these platforms and to be a producer instead of a consumer. That way I save time and I’m making products. That’s a more worthwhile use of my time. My new social media are now all affiliated with the name ‘Life of a Jamaican’ or ‘LOAJ’ and allows me to share only content I create.

Tips for Using Social Media

Number 1 – Do not allow WhatsApp have access to your contacts. This way you will not be able to see statuses.

Number 2 – Use WhatsApp during working hours only. If someone really needs to contact you otherwise they will call using credit. I started doing this on the weekends and it has been wonderful. I am not available via WhatsApp on the weekends and with that time saved I can resume my Sunday blogs here. See!

Number 3 – Mute all groups and silence notifications. This is the beginning of your addiction. Hearing your phone go off constantly is the primary ingredient for anxiety.

Number 4 – Schedule specific times for social media use decreasing this time each week.

Number 5 – Subscribe to persons who provide meaningful or educational posts. To be frank, the only social media you need is my Sunday blogs right here 😉.

The most successful people I know personally today either do not use social media or they pay people to manage their accounts. Maybe they were on to something long ago. Try it.

Covid-19, Curfew and the Opportunities for eSports!

eSport, according to Borowy & Jin, 2013, is competitive human vs human digital game play. It is an extremely competitive arena where players use information and communication technologies to facilitate a test of extreme skill in a variety of gaming genres. Over the years, there has been much debate about whether one would classify eSport, as sport. For now, the most popular eSport games do not demand a lot of physical exertion but in every other aspect, satisfies the definition of ‘sport’.
With the evolving technologies and increased access to internet the growth of eSport is exponential. The opportunities to compete, learn and earn also grows with the discipline and Jamaica is not ignoring the movement. The official body in Jamaica that governs eSport, is the Jamaica eSports Initiative (JEI). This sporting association has been educating Jamaica and hosting tournaments for eSport games. On Thursday February 27, 2020, The Faculty of Sport hosted a seminar to highlight the growth of eSport in Jamaica. The president of the JEI Mr. Gregory Moore and the Vice president Mr. Andrew Johnson gave a detailed overview of the industry and provided insights regarding the establishment of intercollegiate games. As a result of this seminar the UWI eSports club is being established. Given the recent turn of events in the world of sport, as a result of covid-19, and the ‘stay home’ policy encouraged and enforced by the government, sport enthusiasts need an alternative form of sporting entertainment. With the Boys and Girls Championships being cancelled, Olympics postponed, football, NBA and even carnival being postponed, eSport games presents the variety and endless source of entertainment that would make staying home a pleasure. eSport games includes but is not limited to strategic games such as chess, battle royal games such as Fortnite, fighters such as Mortal Kombat and Super Smash Bros or digital versions of traditional sport games such as football (FIFA) or basketball (NBA). The list of eSport genres is extensive. Getting involved in gaming is very easy and can be done using a computer, gaming console or even a smartphone. One does not have to be a competitive gamer but may choose to play recreationally for stress relief and entertainment. Many eSport enthusiasts don’t even play as there is incredible entertainment value simply watching skilled gamers play, much like watching a football match or the Olympic games. In fact, eSport events are joining the Olympic games alongside traditional games. Friday April 3, 2020 NBA players faced off in an NBA2k20 (electronic basketball) tournament which was featured on ESPN and ESPN2. To catch our own national players in action, streams are available for free at twitch.tv/official_jei
While all major sporting events are cancelled. The JEI continues to host weekly events to keep gamers engaged. The benefit of eSport is that it is immune to the challenges of traditional sporting events such as global warming, pandemics, age and issues related to gender. As the restriction on social activities and movement across the world continues, eSport will continue to soar and is an excellent tool to use as we push for social distancing.

We Have The Locs But No Key

We, Jamaicans, have not opened up our minds to accept ourselves we simply subject ourselves to the opinions of the world. A world that does not understand our culture, a world that does not accept….. ‘different’. We live in a world where we observe the oppression of Black people, a world where we are currently seeing protests for black rights yet living in a country that is almost all black and we are oppressing ourselves. We have a box of opportunities, the opportunity to be different the opportunity to live and embrace our culture. All we need now is to open that box, but we need to find the key. Recently we would’ve observed a interesting story that has received international attention. We barred a five-year-old girl from school because she was wearing locs. Of course, there is more to this story, but I want to pick on the basic rationale for my opposition to the court’s decision.

I want you to think about this. Jamaica has schools in 2020 that refuse to accept students with locs. The schools celebrate heritage day/week every year. The poster boy of Jamaican culture is Bob Marley a Rastafarian man with locs. This is the definition of hypocrisy.

I recall from experience, a friend of mine who is of African origin back in high school, let’s call him Alex, was often commanded to cut his hair when it grew to about 1cm or more. It was not in keeping with the school’s rules. There was another student, also male, Indian, with long flowing hair who was allowed to keep his flowing hair as he was allegedly a model. What if Alex wanted to be a model too? I love to obey rules,that’s why I sit in church and behave like a good boy. Rules are rules. But every rule must be grounded in logic. Will the child, having locs diminish his or her learning experience? Will having locs prevent another student from learning? No? Then why ban?

It is easy to say if you don’t like the rules don’t go to the school. But if that school is in any way tax payer funded (which it is) then the school must accept and accommodate tax payers. Banning locs for ‘hygiene’ reasons is disrespectful. Are you of the view that the child’s hair is never washed? I can draw a parallel between this situation and the civil-rights movement in the USA. They have been fighting for decades but still experience the same problems today. We punished Rastas in Coral Gardens even though their contribution to our culture is what promotes Jamaica. Today we still have not accepted, in the ‘formal’ environment, a key identifier for Rastas, the locs. I won’t even get started on the weed!

I would be more accepting of this story if it were to happen elsewhere, but to think that we can’t wear locs at a school in JAMAICA! is ridiculous. We bring down ourselves too much we can’t blame people from bleaching their skins to look ‘more beautiful’ when we accept an image of beauty or an image that is accepted formally, that is not ours.

We are independent on paper but not in mind. We need to open the doors of our independence and be uniquely Jamaican.

The Pyramids of Jamaica! A Quick Look at WorldVentures’ Pyramid Scheme

Over the past few years I’ve been asked several times to join a wide range of money-making ventures. These include Amway, WorldVentures, Organo Gold Explocial, and Paycation. Persons involved promise a life of luxury while having you do little to nothing and being your own boss. I’ve been invited to meetings, the purpose of which is withheld until I am actually there! Yes, I have attended, mostly out of curiosity. A recent increase in the request to have me join this venture has resulted in this post.

dreamtrip-banner

An old co-worker messaged me on a social media platform recently. We worked together but had never really had a chat. I was excited to hear from her and we caught up on our current states. She requested my contact and we continued the connection for a couple of days. I thought she was such a nice person to make the link. Talk about links, her intentions were made clear when she sent me a video link and pleaded for me to watch. I knew it was coming based on the change in the direction of the conversation. The video was password protected so I had to request the password before viewing. As soon as I opened the video and heard some guy talking about a better life and ditching the nine to five I knew it was a pyramid scheme multi-level marketing (MLM) plot. I hastily rejected the request to be at the top of a pyramid of my own. She decided to call me then had her team leader drop in on the call. Her determination to have me be apart of WorldVentures did not exceed my stubbornness, it was simply not my thing. I have not heard from her since then.

What is WorldVentures?

WorldVentures is a multi-level marketing company that offers discounted vacations to its members. Essentially you can travel the world at a low cost and you have the option of recruiting persons in order to receive monetary benefits. In a nutshell, there are two categories; Gold and Platinum memberships at a cost of 199 USD one time fee with 50 USD monthly payment and 299 USD one time fee with 99 USD per month respectively. Signing up four persons will waive the monthly fee. If persons you sign up, recruit others, you also benefit.

Here is why it isn’t for me.

  1. “The overwhelming majority of MLM participants (most sources estimated to be over 99.25% of all MLM participants) participate at either an insignificant or nil net profit.” (Reports from the FTC).
  2. Mathematically speaking, there is not enough persons on earth to facilitate the perpetuity of this business. This is just laughable.
  3. “Companies that use MLM models for compensation have been a frequent subject of criticism and lawsuits. Criticism has focused on their similarity to illegal pyramid schemes, price fixing of products, high initial entry costs (for marketing kit and first products), emphasis on recruitment of others over actual sales, encouraging if not requiring members to purchase and use the company’s products, exploitation of personal relationships as both sales and recruiting targets, complex and sometimes exaggerated compensation schemes, the company making major money off its training events and materials, and cult-like techniques which some groups use to enhance their members’ enthusiasm and devotion.” (Wiki)
  4. The information about the details of how the company works is not clearly outline on an official website. I spoke with a high level associate who gave me a website from which I would get more information. The website failed miserably in that regard, judge for yourselves; https://www.worldventures.com/en-us/ .
  5. A sponsor is apparently needed in order to join this program. Reinforcing ‘the pyramid’.

 

I personally know a few persons who have made money from this…..venture but most do not and I don’t believe it is sustainable. It is apparently NOW legal for the company to operate in Jamaica so it isn’t a scam. Hopefully being now legal is not a result of a hand or two being squeezed.

Join at your own risk but based on my assessment……I strongly do not recommend it.

– Aldeam Facey 2018

If Mi Nuh Write, Mi Wrong!