Disclaimer: Foodie inside- enter at the risk of getting hungry and leaving overweight
It’s Sunday and I turn to my wife who is Japanese and ask “What’s for dinner?” She replies “Nabe.” (Nabe is a Japanese one pot soup with all kinds of meat and vegetables included.)I lost my marbles for moment and thought what the (insert Jamaican fabric here ) is dis woman talking about? Where is the rice and peas?
Where is the bbq chicken? I thought it was a teachable moment and went to lengths to explain to my wife that Sunday dinner was the biggest and most important meal for all Jamaicans all over the world.
My earliest memories of Sundays are fine ones. As @shani.beer will tell you missja shows up when food is on the table. That is an understatement, I show up when food is in the air. Yes! It permeated the atmosphere on Sundays. The piquant smell of oxtail , curried goat or chicken , fried fish or roast beef was enough to raise the dead (no duppies allowed) . The the simmering sound of pressure pots competed with the playing of gospel music or the preaching of radio preacher star “The Reverend VB.” Anybody who is a somebody grated coconut for the rice and peas and lost some finger skin in the process as a child. ![4CC54E92-4620-4417-93BB-46985E79D776.png]Like This
If it wasn’t coconut it was carrot of June plum for the juice as fresh juice was a hit with the Sunday Dinner. I’d grown accustomed to this and tried to maintain this tradition in Japan many years later as a single man. So you can imagine my shock when I got married and my wife didn’t seem to get the memo 😂
Well I’ve checked it out and apparently this tradition was handed down from the times of slavery. You see many of the enslavers were pious church goers and in keeping the “Sabbath” holy, they gave the slaves the day off. Even the non Christian masters gave in to this custom from the 17th century onward. Hence, the slaves would use this day to till their personal plots of peas or other veggies they may have planted on the worst parts of the land called the “Provision grounds.”
According to data garnered from the Liverpool-museum.org other foods were given to the slaves on Sundays. For example , salted mackerel and picked herring. In later days food was imported from North America to supplement what was grown on the estate grounds.
Sunday was also a time of communal gathering and bread breaking and so that is where Sunday dinner allegedly started.
Sure it’s origin was less than ideal but I still look forward to Sunday dinner. As it was in the days of slavery it is still to many a day of family gathering and seeking thanksgiving. As many people work out of house and are usually too busy - it is still a time of refreshing and bond building. The day is not complete without the melodious sounds of the musical greats from either the radio or the nearby sound system. As a child Sunday matinee was icing on the cake when we had only one tv station. If I was lucky I would get to 🏃🏾 after “Creamy” to buy an ice cream cake of which quarter could be mine. I had kfc for dinner today Sunday , Nov. 10. I guess I have learned to live without the traditional rice and peas but I still look forward to a good Jamaican Sunday Dinner
(☝🏿One of the Sundays I decided to cook)
Other pics are courtesy of my friend and Yawd cheffete @datametrics