I’m supposed to be writing more regularly on this blog. I promised time and time again. But every time I sit and try to come up with a topic of interest I fall flat. These days I feel out of touch with my home. I’ve been a short-term visitor there for the past five years I don’t always get to enjoy the simplicity that makes people want to flock to our shores. It’s Better in The Bahamas has been our slogan since I could remember but when I think about the state of affairs and disarray, is it really better?
When I think about this question my basis for comparison are some of the following:
Are there new job opportunities?
Has crime increased or decreased?
Are our political leaders creating and adjusting policies to reflect and better our modern society?
Is customer service in the tourism and and government offices improving?
Is the country progressing towards self-sustainability?
Are we moving towards globalization, meaning are we creating partnerships with other countries to provider greater opportunities for our people to flourish and learn from others?
A lot of these questions has a negative answer or a long wordy answer which still equates to NO so for me this is troublesome. I’m not bad mouthing my country by any means because I’m sure it could be a lot worse, but at the same time we shouldn’t live in an illusion and be comforted that we aren’t the very worst.
Yet, still there are young Bahamians doing their thing and I must applaud them for making a way out of seemingly no way and creating path of their own. TAP of TAPs Vlogs and Sawyerboy TV are among our rising entertainers. Shift The Culture is making a name for itself getting people to think outside of the box. Kedar In Style (fashion), A Mouth Full (food), and a whole slew of others are out there and I applaud their ingenuity, bravery and talent. One day when all this schooling is done, I hope to lay the bricks down for my own path and add others to the bricks that were laid before me.
So while life in The Baha has it’s challenges, with young people tired of the mess stew we’ve been wallowing in, a change is going to come.
Life was easy when my biggest concern was convincing Daddy to let me go in the water with everyone else during the summer.
Life was easy when, “Boys play with boys and girls play with girls” but I didn’t follow suit because some days I would be more interested going exploring through the bushes with the boys than sitting on the porch talking with the girls.
Life was easy when our classroom was outside in the backyard and my notebook was a flat stone and my pencil, the straightest little stick I could find.
Life was easy when the hardest math concept was shooting marbles. How did you score points anyway?
Life was easy when “Twee Lee, Lee” and other ring plays kept us entertained for an entire P.E. class.
Life was easy when you simply had to “Freeze! With ya cheesy panties and ya holey jockeys!”
A typical Bahamian Saturday or Sunday morning involves recovering from the previous nights’ festivities and one way to do is to have a heaping bowl of souse (rhymes with house). Souse is a very simple Bahamian soup made with meats like chicken, turkey, pig’s feet or sheep’s tongue in a clear broth made of lime juice, onions, carrots and potatoes. Goat peppers or bird peppers are added for the extra kick. Whole all spice and bay leaves add an aromatic flavor. Souse can be served with johnny cake, grits or even toast. Although I’m currently on a year-long vegan journey, I bought frozen sheep’s tongue so that I can learn to make it for my fiance and buying a bowl can range $10-$16 depending which island and restaurant you get it from. I also feel that it’s important for young Bahamians to learn how to make out traditional dishes and make them at least once in your life but I digress. Anyway, finding a recipe for sheep tongue souse on the internet was harder than finding a chicken souse recipe because sheep’s tongue has a few additional steps in the cleaning and preparation process. Since I could not find a legit recipe, I decided that I will write and post my own recipe. Please bear with me because I honestly don’t like writing recipes.
Begin by heating a pot of water with lots of salt until comes to a boil. Add the sheep’s tongue and let it boil or scald for 10-15 minutes. You can use this time to prepare a johnny cake or bread to go with it or peel and dice the potatoes and onion.
Drain off hot water and run the tongues under cold water. You’ll need to be able to handle them with your fingers so allow to cool for a few minutes. With a filet knife, remove the rough, white external layer on the tongue that has the taste buds. Try to cut as close to the skin as possible to avoid throwing away meat. Dice into small bite size pieces and set aside in a bowl.
Return the pot to the stove with fresh water and allow to come to a boil. Add potatoes, onions, all spice, bay leaves and optional ingredients. Add the sheep’s tongue and continue cooking until potatoes are done. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste.
Serve while hot.
Note: For my first time, it came out pretty good. My fiance said it was decent. The meat needed a little more salt during the scalding process so that it could begin absorbing some flavor and not just be surrounded by the flavor of the souse water. The next time I make it, I would even throw a few of the all spice balls and a bay leaf in the pot during step 1. Of course, soups and stews always taste better the next day after the flavors have had time to meld together. If you’ve made sheep tongue souse before, do share your experience!
For the past few months in Bahamian news, besides waves of crime and gun violence, there has also been the issue of VAT or value added tax and how it will affect the individual Bahamian pocket. A lot of talk has been as to whether it will do more harm than good for The Bahamas in the long term and comparisons have been made to other countries that have a VAT system in place. I’m no expert on any of it so I’ll post a few links below that breaks down all the dirty details because unfortunately there are vast groups of people at home that don’t know or don’t care about what’s going on around them .
Sitting down last night eating my Mexican-Bahamian meal (beans n rice with crawfish), I thought about chili. I know, very random. I used to eat chili from Wendy’s all the time. For a college budget, it filled me well. But then I thought, “Bahamians don’t really have our own version of chili.” We don’t. But we do have stew, which would be the closest thing I could think of to chili.
No beans, no ground beef involved. Mainly the browning or “burning” of flour, adding a bit of liquid to make it a soup-like consistency and fish that has been previously fried or conch (and in my kitchen, crawfish). Seasoning is basic: salt, goat pepper and lime.
A plate of Stew Fish
Now this isn’t my photo, but it gives you a good idea of how the final product should look. The depth of color depends on how long the flour is browned in the initial stage. Carrots, potatoes and other veggies are optional. The simpler, the better.
I remember sleeping over at a cousin’s house and they would prepare stew early on Saturday mornings and baked a nice Johnny cake or sweet potato bread to serve alongside. I’ve prepared my own stews since moving away to college, but nothing is quite like that old school flavor. I can’t wait to pass this recipe on to my own kids.
Here’s a video on one way to make your very own Bahamian Stew Fish. *Note: you can try this with other types of fish like catifsh or cod.