Ode To Jerk Chicken, Ode To the Caribbean
I am obsessed with jerk chicken.
Completely obsessed. Now let us look at Exhibit A
This, I repeat THIS IS NOT JERK CHICKEN!
It isn't official if it's this pretty, real jerk chicken is cooked in something like this:
And it should look like this:
Honestlly, jerk chicken is so much more than food. My obsession with jerk chicken stems from my love affair with Caribbean culture. As a Caribbean immigrant I think my attachment to this particular food is linked to the excitement surrounding Labor Day. In Brooklyn It doesn’t matter where you’re from because when Labor Day and J’Ouvert (prounouced JU-VAY) comes around EVERYONE is Caribbean for a day.
On every corner someone is selling jerk chicken and you can taste the spices in the air.
So for those of you who have never heard about J'Ouvert it is an informal street parade that takes place right before the Labor Parade (it takes place Sunday night into the wee hours of Monday Morning) on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. It looks something like this:
So what’s the difference between the informal street parade and the actual parade? Steel pan!!!!!!!!!
And also there is no "Mas" during J'Ouvert. "Mas"is short for Masquerade, so you won't see any pretty costumes during J'Ouvert but you will see people throwing powder, paint and sometimes mud (it's all about getting dirty and "gettin' on bad". So back to the steel pan, it isn’t allowed on the Parkway (because the speakers on the trucks blast reggae and soca music so you wouldn’t be able to hear it anyway). So the competition for the best pan band takes place in the parking lot of the Brooklyn Museum (if you live near Bedford Ave you can see them playing music as members of their group push their floats to the competition grounds while on lookers join in dancing all the way there). So here is an example of steel pan music in case you’re unfamiliar with it:
And what does this have to do with jerk chicken? Well for me, it has everything to do with it. This food means so much more to me that just something to eat, it’s apart of my culture. It’s linked to beautiful memories of bright costumes, people "palancing", a display of flags from every nation in the Caribbean and a time where I didn’t have anything to worry about.
How I long for those carefree Summer days, before school, before GRE's, before all of my current woes. I can't bring those days back but I can always go to Fisherman's Cove.
Lisa Del Sol