Eat Around Ja - St Elizabeth devoured
Normally, when one gets that feeling of butterflies in the stomach, accompanied by a sparkle in their eyes and bright-red flushed cheeks, it's from being around a great love.
For The Gleaner's Online Brand Manager Terri-Karelle Reid, the object of her love is simply food.
Two and a half miles of green lush bamboo is enough to amaze anyone who passes through Holland Bamboo, St Elizabeth. But for Terri, a quaint rustic building between the bamboos caught her eyes.
As she stepped inside the unassuming structure, she was met with bright smiles and cheerful 'howdys' from restaurant owner Elenore Blake and her daughter, Tracey-Ann Hazel. Feeling right at home, she launched into a hearty conversation enquiring about the business.
Blake explained that she has been operating for some 25 years, and business was doing well. It all began when some men from the community bought her pots and pans and asked that she start a restaurant. She gladly accepted the offer and has been cooking ever since. When asked why she does so well, she explained that it was her herbs, spices and just the care with which she prepares her food.
Hazel explained that even with the amount of customers that pass through daily, her mother husks, grates and juices her own coconut milk to cook her rice and peas.
"Not even blender I don't use. I get a better taste from it," echoed Blake.
Speaking about food made Terri very anxious, so she hastily ordered curried chicken and rice and peas with roti.
In a matter of minutes, Blake emerged from the kitchen with the meal. In Jamaica, they have a saying, "Only greedy people eat and dance or shake them foot." Well, apparently there was some faint music as Terri's feet had now started moving in a rhythmic pattern as she unwrapped her utensils.
"Is this a large? 'Cause I don't eat anything small," Terri said.
Blake assured her that it was indeed a large and she dug in. Clearly, the music was getting louder as the movements increased while she worked her way through the contents of her plate. Terri smiled with her eyes; her mouth had no time to perform this action. She enjoyed the perfectly done curried chicken and homestyle-cooked rice and peas immensely, but her favourite was the fluffy, freshly baked roti. She explained and demonstrated that one should not cut their roti. To thoroughly enjoy it, you have to tear it and use it to 'sap' up the gravy. Blake and Hazel laughed; they knew they now had another frequent customer.
It would be fair to assume that it was now time to head back home, but Terri still had that look.
She then explained that she heard of another little spot in the Breadbasket parish that she wanted to visit.
Perched on the bank of the Black River is Sister Lou's River Stop.
Terri fell in love with Sister Lou who told her that she could prepare crab for her anyway she wanted it.
By the time the crab was ready, Terri had transformed her dancing feet to something vocal. She was now humming. She was very curious because Sister Lou was tight-lipped about her ingredients, and so she had no idea what to expect.
Terri could not contain her excitement as Sister Lou approached her with the food. No longer than 10 seconds in, she ordered a second serving of crab as it was simply delicious.