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Shanti Ramsamooj, 54, a mother of four and grandmother of eight from La Brea Trace, Siparia, can be seen on her daughter's Facebook page bonjaying a large pot of curry crab on a chulha she made.
Among the slew of local entertainers taking to the digital space to meet their audiences is Freetown Collective with their Freetown Thursday Concerts. This virtual concert series, currently presented via Facebook Live (@wearefreetown), has as its primary aim to help keep people connected through music during the ongoing COVID-19 quarantine period.
Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning can force you to evacuate your schools, neighbourhood or even confine you to your home.
You’d be hard pressed to find a single Trinbagonian kitchen that did not possess a tawa. From the Hindustani word meaning “iron plate”, tawas are flat, circular griddles made of metal that are used for cooking flat breads like the various types of roti and roast-bakes. The first tawas in T&T were used in earthen fireplaces called chulhas that would crumble each rainfall and need regular leepaying (plastering) with fresh clay. The tawa would sit atop a well stoked fire and dough flattened with a bilna (rolling pin) would be placed on top of it to cook. When it was time to flip the dough a simtah, or tong-like utensil, would be used, although the most skilful roti-makers would use swift and nimble hands and never be burned! However, the hallmark of a true tawa-master is in their ability to sakay—the tawa is pulled slightly off the fire and the partially cooked dough is made to face the direct flames! This makes the dough swell and some even let it get a nice toasting. Today little of these techniques has changed.
Long before there were blenders and food processors, the sil and lorha were used for grinding seasonings such as garlic, peppers, pimento, etc. It was typically used in the making of various types of chutney, particularly coconut chutney. If you’ve never had coconut chutney with your doubles, with your curry or with your normal Trini street food, you are sadly missing out. No worries though, here’s the recipe so you can make it yourself.
T&T is a polycultural paradise, filled with vibrant people of fete and faith, the home of the steelpan. The exquisite language of this space is adorned with loan words indicating a society born from arduous journeys of its ancestors. Our uniqueness is unique! Despite the countless avenues traversed, a wonderful array of dishes constitutes the delectable cuisine of this land from roti to doubles to fried bake. But have you ever wondered about the cooking tools behind these scrumptious everyday delicacies? Whatever the baking goal, the bilna and chowki will provide the solution.
Spices and seasonings crackle and crunch under the weight of the lorha, releasing an intoxicating scent—and you just know something good is about to go down in the kitchen. If this scenario rang any bells for you, then you’re a lucky person, and you know the value of the original way of grinding up seasoning in your aaje’s (paternal grandmother) and nani’s (maternal grandmother) kitchens. Yes, we live in the age of food processors and grinders, but can anything truly replace the good ole sil and lorha? I know I am never giving up my tawa for a griddle, so if you are lucky enough to have the true and traditional sil and lorha, I doubt you would want to give that up either.
We may seldom step outside the box of our reality to notice, but over the past three decades, there have been major focusing events that have changed the way we live our lives. From 9/11 to Covid-19, we can no longer say such events we have only read about in our history books. We’ve actually lived through these events that have changed our lives and for future generations to come. For the past five months during this Covid-19 pandemic, Public Health measures to prevent infection spread, that have existed with the public being unaware of them, now form the basis on which we live our lives. It is indeed an uncomfortable position to exist in, but if we do not learn from this experience, mankind’s future looks quite bleak.
The systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or Lupus as it is commonly called is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. This disease is a multi-organ disease which can affect the skin, joints, kidneys and brain, just to name a few. Although the cause of lupus is not clear, it is believed to be linked to factors such as genetic, environmental, hormonal and even certain medicines.
As the saying goes “the only constant is change”. Even though change is inevitable, it does not make it any easier for us to accept. Big changes such as a divorce, death of a loved one or loss of a job can be difficult for many adults to cope with. These changes are especially difficult for our children whose young brains are still developing. While they may not be able to express verbally that they are having difficulty with a change, you may be able to recognize it by their reactions and changes in emotions.
The single most common excuse I hear from people is “I don’t have enough time to work out.” Let’s do this together, very simple math, seven days in a week, twenty-four hours in a day, which means there are 168 hours in a week. So, let’s just say for debate sake you work seven days a week eight hours shift, that’s 56 hours, you sleep eight hours, that’s another 56 hours, so we are 112 hours. You commute back and forth to work for let’s say two hours, now we are up to 114h hours. Ok so now you are going to give me the second degree dance about grocery shopping, running errands and family time. Ok! Let’s back up a bit and take three hours per week to do your grocery, we are now at one hundred and seventeen 117 hours. Clearly family time is paramount so you can take 40 hours out of your busy week to bond with the family, this brings us to 157 hours. Now you are left with eleven hours for errands but still the excuse hovers over your head and you have no time to take care of your health. Instead, you are going to spend the money you have been working so hard for at the doctor’s office because you don’t feel too good.
The timing couldn’t be more appropriate. The action, perfectly synced. It’s almost as though the Universe called on Caribbean singers like Isasha, Turbulence, Capleton and others of the reggae music movement, to speak up.
The world was spun upside down and just as construction workers were in the process of laying down the foundation of the Highlanders Steel Orchestra’s new pan theatre, when Covid-19 struck a hateful chord, tuning out a closure of what was considered non-essential business including construction.
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