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At some time in your life, you are going to have a little rain, metaphorically speaking. If
your days were eternally sunny and blissful, how would you learn to change any
situation? And, with everything as they were in the old days and even now, your life can
take many turns…some good and others just tolerable.
At the very least, you sometimes accept what comes your way with grace and tact to even
the hard blows that life sometimes offers.
Well when I was a child, I did not care about the daily concerns of life and its offerings. I,
and all the other children just live, you know…eat, play, laugh, and sleep. It never
dawned on me that on some Thursdays when we ate “one-pot meals” instead of the usual
with the salting that it was raining, metaphorically speaking.
We call Thursdays Ben Johnson Day because you have either a lot of money or none at
all. When you have none, that’s when you have to scrounge up what ever little food you
have left in the pantry and make do with what you have or go to the local grocery store
and credit more food until payday…Friday. However, if you run up your credit limit with
the grocer, then you have to turn to your backyard garden and get some homegrown
provisions or vegetables….Yah Mon!
And, among the easiest vegetable to prepare is the pumpkin. Yes, callaloo and popchow
are the choice when you consider the easy-cooking-less-expensive vegetables list, but
pumpkin is a hit with children. The color and taste gives it a better welcome at the dining
table, too. There is no green or distinct after taste that the children abhor. You know?
On top of that, you’ll never hear anyone saying that pumpkin is good for you, even
though it is.
Although the other vegetables can be combined with rice to make a very nutritious dish,
they don’t blend as well as pumpkin. You could say that pumpkin and rice is the poor
man’s rice pilaf of sorts.
Even if your Ben Johnson Day has not come around, you could try some pumpkin rice to
break the monotony of eating the same ol’ thing day in day out. Cool?
¾ lb Pumpkin (Calabaza) finely chopped
2 cups Rice
½ tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Butter
1 sprig Thyme
1 pinch Black Pepper
1 pinch Sugar
2 cups Water
Add the salt and water to the pot and taste the salt and water solution. If you need more
salt this is the time to add more. Bring the solution to boil and then add the pumpkin,
thyme, black pepper, scallion, and sugar. Let the ingredients boil on high for 7 minutes
and then add the rice.
At this point, turn the fire to medium heat. Allow the rice to boil for 5 minutes and then
turn the fire to low. Use a fork to stir the pot and add the butter now. Allow the rice to
simmer until ready.
Serve in small bowls.
If you want, you could add cashews or chopped almonds to this dish, too. If you want to
make this into an Ital Jamaican Dish, use coconut milk instead of water and omit the salt
and butter from the list of ingredients. Use a scotch bonnet pepper instead with added
seasonings such as onions, or garlic.
PSS:Another thing, If you plan to make a Jamaican Christmas cake this year, Now is the time to start soaking you fruits in Jamaican white rum.
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