Sat | Aug 19, 2017

A Massy and More Tasting

Published:Thursday | December 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson

Most Jamaicans are used to sweetening their favourite hot beverage with sugar, but they'll be surprised that they would get the same great taste or an even better one if they used honey or milk.

What if we applied this same concept to our everyday foods? Last Wednesday, Massy Distribution (Jamaica) Limited did just that when they visited our offices for a tasting. They brought with them a variety of dishes created by their tinned products corned beef and mackerel. And we provided palate support with our panel of tasters: Monique Williams, who works in promotions and customer service, bartender Georgiana Phillips, shopkeeper Annette McLeod and janitor Fay Whyte.

According to Melissa Bennett: "Valrico, unlike other brands, the mackerel is not lost in the sauce, thus there is body to the meal whenever it is prepared ... and the corned beef is leaner. Additionally, for such quality and value Valrico is ideally affordable ... all that is best served on your plate.

The four confirmed Bennett's statement and expressed delight as they indulged in likes of the mackerel fried rice, the corned beef shepherd's pie, corned beef Johnny cakes and mackerel fritters with a sweet sauce. Commenting that they were impressed by the taste, preparation and presentation of the dishes, they confirmed that they were sure they would be trying them at home.

But wait, there's more. When asked if they use these products at home, a resounding yes echoed in reply. McLeod noted that she uses mackerel to make sandwiches for her family. "I cook it down in coconut milk and make mackerel run down. Yes, with the tin mackerel and sometimes I mix the salt mackerel in it. My kids love it. I serve it with either fried dumplin or boil banana and boil dumplin," she added.

She highlighted too that since we are living in hard economic times, making food expensive, she sometimes stretches her pot of corned beef or mackerel when necessary, adding shredded cabbage or a can or two of mixed vegetables.

Whyte chimed in, saying that she uses corned beef to make red peas soup. Yes, you read right: red peas soup. She went into greater details, "I use the corned beef with the red peas in the tin to boil soup. And I add dumpling, a piece of pig's tail, yam, chicken foot, sweet potato, chicken back, two tablespoon of noodles and coconut milk that I make by hand from scratch. When it is half cooked, that's when you put the corned beef in it. And I make sure the soup isn't too thick as well." Talk about savoury innovation - her very own one pot meal. Naturally, this could also be done with stew peas.

So, you can make creative meals for yourself and your family, with the range of economically affordable products distributed by just about any tinned product in your kitchen, as long as you put your mind and the right flavours to it. Try some of these dishes at home today and taste the delectable difference for yourself. For this season, break conventions and create new traditions that will leave you salivating for more.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com