Monday, September 12, 2016

Currently Eating

Until last week, I would tell you that I am a child of the snow. I like all things cold and dreary. I'd make a great Meyer vampire. In the Arctic, the world would be my (very frozen) oyster.

You may be cozy, but you'll never be "Lenny Kravitz in Bubby's afghan," cozy.

You see, I'm what most people would call "indoorsy." While I do run outdoors every day, I am really happy in my house, writing my music or reading my books. I like to cook on a very fancy oven/stove. Grilling has thus far held very little appeal to this vegan. Open fire cooking? I'm not even certain what you're talking about right now. What is this "open fire cooking" of which you speak?

Again, these things were all very true until a recent vacation. I discovered something about myself. It's not the outside that I don't like. It's not the heat, either. It's the setting in which the outside and the heat occurs. The places I typically experience the heat--in the Southwest and right here in Brooklyn; the heat, combined with the setting, is unbearable.

In Brooklyn, the smell of summer permeates every cell of every organism, and hangs heavy in the air like a Matt Lauer missed opportunity. If you've ever lived in NYC over the summer, you know the smell, and you hate it. Also, there is really just too many people in one area. I don't need your sweat on me if I haven't seen you naked. Also, I don't want to see you naked. (Looking at you, dude in the too-tight mankini on Brighton Beach!) In the Southwest, the heat is better, but what the Summer brings is a rash of haboobs. And no, that's not what you think it is. (Looking at you, dude in the too-tight mankini on Brighton Beach!) It's a nasty windstorm that rolls in like like fog, only IT IS MADE OUT OF SAND. Remember that scene in Aladdin where the sand is swirling around everyone and everything? It's like that, only no magic freaking lamp. Only asthma. Massive exfoliation of any exposed area of skin. Mad Max: Fury Road style PTSD. Those things.

However, in The Bahamas, the heat and humidity feel weirdly comforting. Strangely akin to a steamy hug. The air in most areas smells like fruit and flowers and salty sea. Nassau is crowded, and has its own sort of "no not here" qualities to it, but you don't have to go far outside the main city to wonder why anyone would ever leave. And everything--and I mean everything--is cooked outside. It's simply too hot, and too few places have air conditioning to cook in an enclosed kitchen. The kitchens are open to the elements. It's AMAZING. (Full-disclosure: the place I stayed was a private home with both and indoor and an outdoor kitchen, but you better believe I ONLY cooked outside.) Most things didn't even need cooking because they were so good raw. Mangos, papaya, starfruit, the teeniest bananas I've ever seen. I ate an avocado and mango salad every day for lunch. It was pure heaven. I cooked giant pots of coconut rice on an outdoor stove that made me so happy I could write sonnets to it. (No, I couldn't. That's a lie. Poeming is not my forte. I'm more of an X-Rated limerick sort of gal.)

This was a revelation to me. For the first time in my entire life, I thought to myself "I could live here, and this place doesn't even have my preferred six months of winter!" I could live there if only for the fruit and veg. To a vegan, especially one who loves raw food as much as I do, it was Nirvana. Did you know that you can actually buy and eat a guava not already made into a paste and served at a pretentious wine party? (But you could absolutely serve the raw guava at an equally pretentious wine party.) Also, tamarind is not just a shave ice flavor. IT IS REAL, IT IS HARD TO EAT, AND IT IS MAGIC. (It also really sticks to your teeth, so bring your toothbrush!) 

I loved it so much, I made plans to go back before I even left. I'd also like to visit the rest of the Caribbean, but for now, I'll take the Bahamas. And all of their mangos. 

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