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Jamaican 'Tun Cornmeal...No Doggie Style #014
May 22, 2005
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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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