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The idea of eating Turn Cornmeal or ‘Tun Cornmeal, as we call it in Jamaica, is not too
cool with some Jamaicans. The reason is that most people will tell you in jiffy that ‘tun
cornmeal’ is dog food. And in a nation where dogs and humans are separate and unequal,
to invite someone to dinner and offer ‘tun cornmeal as an entrée would be the greatest
insult to your guest and yourself.
However that does not mean that one could not share some ‘tun cornmeal with a close
friend, it depends on who or what status the individual may have in society, so to speak.
The question I have always had is, how come this is dog food or better yet food fit for a
dog made it to the Jamaican table? Who made this decision to tag this dish with our
canine friends? And nothing is said about Cornmeal Porridge which is virtually the same
meal with different spices and more added water.
Be that as it may, I am proud to have had ‘tun cornmeal as many times as I have had. And
I enjoyed too. You will now see why I am not ashamed of eating this food.
½ lb. Cornmeal
1 Large Onion
2 sprigs Thyme
12 oz. Coconut Milk
½ Scotch Bonnet Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1 pinch Curry Powder
4 Cherry Tomatoes
1 oz. Butter
1 tsp. Sugar
½ Qt. Water
1 cup Cooking Oil
You will sauté the onions, scotch bonnet pepper, tomatoes, and thyme in a skillet. And
then mix salt and cornmeal together in a bowl. In the meantime bring water to boil in a
saucepan. Add the coconut milk and sugar to the water and turn the fire to medium.
Next use a knife handle to beat the scallion on a cutting board until slightly frayed. After
that, add the scallion and all the ingredients from the skillet to the coconut and water
solution already on the stove.
Alright, add some cold water to the cornmeal and salt that’s in the bowl, just enough to
make cornmeal mix wet. Use a wood spoon and turn the cornmeal in the bowl to make
sure the water penetrates the cornmeal.
Slowly add the cornmeal to the pot while consistently stirring to make sure the cornmeal
does not lump up in the pot…this is of major concern. You will have to continue to stir
the cornmeal for quite awhile to prevent the lumps.
Allow the ‘tun cornmeal to cook for twenty minutes and then add the butter. Cook for
another ten minutes while turning with the wood spoon to prevent the cornmeal from
sticking to the bottom of the pot.
When the cooking process is complete let the ‘tun cornmeal cool and then serve in a flat
plate as is.
You should only share this meal with your closest ‘bredren or sistren’ who naw go buss
‘pon yu. Seen? Irie!
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