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Hungry in the Blue Mountains

Just a few hours after landing in Jamaica, we were heading  to Irish Town, St. Andrew. Just 30 minutes from the center of Kingston and 3100 feet above sea level, we made our way through a winding road crowded with people coming home from school and work. Like watching a choreographed dance without music, the opposite side of the road driving gave the impression of near misses that weren’t near misses at all. Towards the end, the road was rocking in front of me like a metronome. I closed my eyes the rest of the way. Read more

Landing in Jamaica


I was promised a powder-puff landing. That’s what my friend Bruce said we’d have in Jamaica – wheels down, puff, puff, touchdown. What happened instead was one of the most terrifying descents I’ve ever experienced – complete with a woman two rows back, loudly making her peace with God, and praying for deliverance. Shell shocked – I started to doubt “the powder puff” landing was really a thing until I heard a mother in the immigration line, point to her children and say, “they’ll never know, they’ll never experience a powder puff.” I may never know either. The machete landing as my sister called it – chop, chop , scream – I could safely cross off my list.  Still, the end was the same – we were in Jamaica. Read more

Quinotto de Champiñones

I usually dread fall-back but I’ve been looking forward to daylight savings for weeks. Normally a morning person, getting up in the pitch black, confusing the still bright streetlamps with my alarm clock, and starting every day with the say-it-aint-sos was really getting to me. For once, I was willing to trade darker afternoons for brighter mornings. Of course, playing mind games with the sun has its price. As someone with penchant for photographing their food, I’m sure I’ll be cursing the change when I’m trying to get a decent picture at 3-o’-clock in the afternoon. Read more

Empanaditas de Calabaza

I only really became aware of el Dia de los Muertos a couple of years ago but then it was love at first sight – the papel picado, the calacas that would be frightening if they weren’t so eerily famliar, the food welcoming spirits home as though no time has passed. There’s an easy tension to the way it’s celebrated – a balance between the pre-Columbian and post-Discovery, the corporeal and the spiritual, the seen and unseen – that’s lovely to live in for a couple of days. In the past, I’ve made pan de muerto but this year wanted to try empanaditas de calabaza. Families may start their vigil with the ofrenda, but they see the spirits back to the cemetery. Whatever I made, I wanted it to be filled with fall spices, comforting, and most importantly, portable. Read more

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