You’re worldly, or worldly like (you watch the Travel channel all the time), and you enjoy cultures. Perhaps you regularly peruse the aisles of your local gourmet supermarket vowing this year will be the time you do pick up some Tahini, and stock up on the ingredients all those chefs on HGTV use it in their recipes. You smile dreamily as you flip through the gorgeous cookbook with a quad of dishes on the cover, thinking, I could make that! This year, you are truly convinced that the ‘boil and pour’ you barely have time to serve your family will be updated! There are quintessential Haitian dishes that embody effort, with a mix of spices, yielding a superbly flavorful twist on everyday food. White rice can truly be fancier. Prettier than just slapping a butter pat on it with a sprinkle of chopped chives! Most of my generation and those before mine grew up with ‘help’ (who were in charge of the cooking, cleaning and gardening), when we lived in Haiti. Yes, I know…. However, unless you were allowed to perch on their shoulders while they dabbed a wooden spoon against their palms to taste the eternal simmer of chopped shallots, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, oil, garlic and such, then you were left to reminisce with friends about the vivid tastes so many of us desperately try to duplicate. Some of us find it easier to just fly home for the holidays to get that authentic soup. One girlfriend said, ‘it’s just a lot of MSG and salt.’ It’s more than that-it’s time. In Haiti, foods simmered for hours, meats were seasoned sometimes days in advance (not just for Thanksgiving). Time when a weekly menu could be discussed and ingredients prepped. Aaah, the days of yesteryear, but something tells me we’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy! Some of us are juggling activities, careers, family and more! There’s always more isn’t there? We don’t have time. Some of us are still reeling with the fact that we have a child and need to get organized. The rest of us barely have an hour from work to get the kids to practice, then we’re eating junk on the way home, which frustrates us because the weight is creeping on, but there’s no time to get to the gym (5:45am spinning class, really), so now we’re more tired than we were when we first made the resolution of living healthier! I won’t promise your hubby will surrender to all your requests after you’ve presented him with these dishes, or that the kids will now write a book report about Haiti for their International week project, but I will share recipes that are simple enough for you to imitate, making you an honorary Haitian! You rock!Up first: Rice, of course. Drop by in a few days, or when you’re ready. By: Mahalia Solageshttp://www.mahaliasolages.com/
about the author
Mahalia Solages is the author of two children’s picture books. Her fiction has appeared at WritingRaw, WWOHD and she contributes regularly to Haitianista. Upcoming projects include a story in an anthology, and a story in L4K. Her ongoing projects include two women’s fiction novels, and a middle grade novel. Mahalia received her degree at the New York School of Interior Design, attended FIT and FIU, worked as a flight attendant for over a decade, became a pilot and a Flight Instructor. She settled into the literary world and creative writing via various courses including Gotham Writers Workshop, New York.Mahalia continues her life in Florida with her family and roommates Misha and Mr. Nelson—the cats.