Sunday, February 6, 2011

What makes the jerk in jerk chicken?

Picture originally uploaded by Guus
 Miss Ena’s house was the place to be. She was the matriarch of our community; an old lady who could cook like nobody’s business. My twin brother and I were main stays at her house for this reason and because we felt safe. She held me in her arms when I cried and fed me when I was hungry. I remember sitting on her verandah and her talking to me, like I was an adult, always listening to hear the next word that I was going to say. She made me feel special. Even when cooking her jerk chicken I knew she was listening to me. She got the coals ready by putting them on the fire in a steel bottom drum and lighting them with a match so they could turn white. When I smelled that smell, I knew she was cooking my favorite, jerk chicken. She always seasoned the meat the night before to let the chicken soak up all that seasoning filled with flavor. She would then take the chicken out the container and put it on the fire; the smell would intoxicate me. It was like waiting for Christmas, except the jerk chicken was the present and Miss Ena was Santa Claus. My twin brother and I would then gorge it down while burning hot, it was soooo good! Using our mouth as the fork to tear the tender pieces apart, this was my heaven on earth.

What are your fondest childhood memories in food?

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