CREATIVE SPACE #14 of 2020 (uploaded August 26th 2020)
CREATIVE SPACE is a series spotlighting local art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 and ran to 2019 on Antiguanice.com. Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. There are plans for its continued evolution across multiple media platforms. CREATIVE SPACE is created, owned, and written by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean author, journalist, and freelancer.
Here’s a link to the issue as it appeared on August 26th 2020 in the Daily Observer: CS CA DO 14 2020
Below is the extended online edition (not a duplicate of the edition with publishing partner Observer Media) with extras.
If you would like to be featured or to sponsor (i.e. advertise with) a future installment of the jhohadli.wordpress.com online edition of CREATIVE SPACE, BOOSTing your BRAND while boosting Antigua-Barbuda Art and Culture, contact Joanne.
CREATIVE SPACE: WHETTING YOUR APPETITE
(with thanks to Azizah Phillip, left, and Carolyn Providence, right, of the facebook group #ratemyplate268 for use of their images. Hover over each image for the captions)
Last week, en route from the beach to wait for uninvited guest Laura to pass through, a friend and I stopped for takeout at Barbuda Grill, a food stall along Anchorage Road featuring food from our sister island. And when you hear a piece a food bang good? No lobster, which Barbuda is known for, but chicken, ribs, goat, and fish that had my mom, who is very critical of street food, singing the praises of both the taste and the cleanliness of the fish. So I wasn’t so much fishing around for a column idea as seizing the moment when I settled on food as culture for this week’s CREATIVE SPACE.
Food is culture, passionately so; see the great annual online ducana debate (#teamnoraisins) for reference. A creative and expressive culinary art, in food is wrapped up memories of home, and, more broadly (hence the very concept of a national dish), heritage. Fungee, one half of Antigua and Barbuda’s official national dish, is, as Joy Lawrence’s The Way We Talk and Other Antiguan Folkways reminds, part of our West African heritage; the word fungee and the making of it being of Twi (Akan/Asante) and Yoruba origin.
(Image from the Jhohadli Archives: turning fungee during an Appearance on local TV show Cooking Magic hosted by Erna Mae Tonge Brathwaite in 2013)
Food culture begets food tourism begets food articles. One, via TripSavvy.com, entitled ‘7 Foods You Need to Try in Antigua’, lists conch, saltfish and fungi – described as an “Antiguan version of polenta or grits” (no), rum, rum punch, ducana, Wadadli beer, and Susie’s Hot Sauce. Another, posted to travelnoire.com and entitled ‘Seven Must-Try Foods When Travelling to Antigua’ framed fungee as Sunday dinner (??) and, also said it is “sometimes called Antiguan polenta or grits” (*head banging*). This list included conch (again); ducana (“Antigua’s version of a tamale”?); Macaroni Pie (…O…kay); Black pineapple (we would say Antigua Black pineapple): souse (“traditionally eaten on Sundays”??); and goat water (though the image shown is goat stew as a meal-side which is not the same as goat water). No mention of personal favourite, pepperpot (read an excerpt from the pepperpot making scene in my novel Oh Gad! #1 in EXTRAS below).
Pepperpot is mentioned in another travelnoire.com piece, entitled ‘A Foodie’s Guide To Antigua: What To Eat And Drink When On The Caribbean Island’, which got it mostly right if in name only (because that picture is NOT pepperpot). This more complete list included fungie, conch, ducana, black pudding (we would say rice pudding), johnny cakes (fried dumpling or bakes), saltfish, chop up, Antigua Black pineapple, seasoned rice, souse, goat water, lobster, sea moss, peanut punch, bush tea, mauby, ginger beer, rum, rum punch, fudge, peanut brittle, bread pudding, coconut sugar cake (or as we call it, sugar cake), and, legit given our cultural diversity, roti and shawarma – shout out to author Kelsie Marie who seems to have ventured beyond the resorts and the tourism pamphlets and at least talked to a local.
Which, despite my own standing as a #gyalfromOttosAntigua, I decided to do, via social media. I’ll end by sharing some #ownvoices responses re must have Antiguan and Barbudan food, and, I’m not trying to start a food fight or anything, but come through with your own opinions.
“fresh guava drink and soursop drink, saltfish cakes and season rice, (both porkless and porkfull)”
“Anything…as long as it’s doused with Suzie’s hot sauce! And that includes dessert”
“Season rice. Tamarind drink/ginger beer. Sugar cake/tamarind stew. Rice pudding and maw.” – This person also listed KFC as a joke…but is it really a joke? KFC and pizza, both, at least have residency status by now, right?
“Pepperpot!!” – Insert joke here about a certain resort’s recent ‘pepperpot’ picture.
I, also, got tagged in to a group called #RateMyPlate268 which is the source of images used, with chef’s permission, in this article.
#1 – Pepperpot making scene excerpted from my novel Oh Gad! – ‘The kitchen was a hive of activity. Audrey sat in the centre of it all, dispensing orders while her hands busily rolled flour for the fried and boiled dumplings. Nikki was chopping the eggplant, eddoe top, spinach, okras, cucumber, pumpkin, green pawpaw, peppers, carrots, onion, chive, thyme, garlic, potatoes – the whole range of vegetables, herbs, and greens procured from Tanty. Belle was shelling the pigeon peas. Jazz was pealing and grating ginger. Carlene was cleaning and seasoning chicken. The salt beef, pig foot, pig mouth, and pig tail had already been set to boil in water sweetened with brown sugar, “to cut the salt,” Audrey’d explained. … … … When she was done chopping the vegetables, about midnight, Audrey told her to set them to boil in one of the huge pots under the cupboard, twin to the one already on the stove with the “meatkin’.”
“No, no, no,” Audrey called out as she moved to dump the mountains of vegetables into the pot.
“The ‘troba and pawpaw can’t go in the cold water so,” Audrey said, coming over. “Dem will boil hard.”
Nikki raised her eyebrows at that.
Audrey took over the task, explaining as she went. “You ha fu mek the water boil up first. Plenty people that call themself cook always mek that mistake an’ you eat them ‘troba, e tough tough. You wait til e boil up, then put um in. You put any salt?”
“No, I didn’t know how much…”
“Is to your taste,” Audrey said. “Pass it here.” And Nikki did.’
Yeah, food (and music) show up in my books a lot because as I’ve said, food is culture. For a window to my culture, my books are a good place to start.
#2 – This is not paid advertising (though it should be and maybe they’ll advertise in future) but paying it forward a bit, in the year of global dysfunction 2020, I’ll mention (no links) some grassroots cultural enterprises that popped up in the conversation when I crowdsourced must-have Antiguan and Barbudan foods on facebook: Eat ‘n Lime Food Tours (which I’m really keen to do at some point), Ray’s Garden Delights, and Beanz and Grills (shouted out for its “bangin burger”).
All Rights Reserved. Sharing or excerpting with link and credit is okay. But for re-publication of CREATIVE SPACE or any other content on this site contact Joanne – also use this link to contact Joanne for appearances (reading, speaking, discussions), workshops/courses, writing, editing, or other offered service.