By Kielon Hilaire. This one tells of an energetic woman, living in Carenage, to whom many people refer as “Aunty Sharon”. Each day, before the rise of the sun, Sharon would have at least one thing on her mind: how can I satisfy all my customers today? This she did with Trini flavour.
Sharon professionally conducts a business from her cosy abode – she’s a freelance baker by day and night. From as early as the brink of dawn, to the times when owls refuse to sleep, aromas such as beef, potato, veggie stew, and other succulent flavours would seep through every nook and cranny of this baker’s home.
Have you ever eaten a currants roll? In case you don’t know, it is an oven baked pastry that’s internally emblazoned with juicy black currants (prunes that are similar to raisins). Sharon’s rolls are so crunchy that the moment your teeth sink into them, the flakes graciously dissolve in your mouth. Then your taste buds are blissfully bombarded by the sugary currants.
What about a sweetbread? This is a baked sweetened flour delicacy that contains grated coconut, a moist, heavenly crust, and often looks like its insides are raided with rainbow coloured fruit.
These are just two of the products Sharon bakes that are indigenous to the Caribbean. On a regular basis, her kitchen is filled with a plethora of pies, breads, lunches, and dinners… which brings this little food outing to the next chapter.
Sharon also bakes a mean potato pie. She uses standard ingredients, just like anyone else – salt, flour, potato – but her real secret lies in the extra ingredients like shadon beni (one of the more popular Caribbean spices), onions and hints of garlic. When these flavorous components are combined they allow Sharon to produce a version of potato pie that is quite unforgettable – just be sure you have enough “belly” to endure the taste of her meanest ingredient – pepper. The thing is HOT!
But oven goods aside, occasionally Sharon would go the extra mile to please her pickiest customers. “Oil-down” anyone? Most locals are aware of what “oil-down” is; just hearing the word could evoke random images of people rubbing their tummies in delightful anticipation.
Oil-down is a popular lunch, often cooked on Sundays, that’s made with chunks of fresh breadfruit, an array of scrumptious seasonings, and can optionally be spiced up with nearly any type of meat. When this food is hot, the breadfruit tastes like warm butter melting in your mouth, and as slithers down your throat it tempts you to say cheesy things like, “Wow, what a mouthful!”
Sharon’s cooking has become so popular that some customers even take it upon themselves to blindly attack her with food cravings. No longer would some of them give her a call, telling her what they’d like ahead of time; they usually stop by, shamelessly uninvited. When this happens, Sharon quickly promises them that she would see what she could do, and then she rushes into her kitchen and whips something up as promptly as she can.
Her tag line says it all: “If your taste buds are seeking food of true Trini flavour, you can’t go wrong by giving Aunty Sharon a moment of your time.”
November 2012 – Issue 2 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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Trini flavour, Trini flavour, Trini flavour