Friday, February 7, 2014

The Travelling Nutmeg: Where is my Oil Down?

With Grenada's 40th Independence being celebrated on February 7th, the week was filled with celebrations and colourful displays of patriotism. The kids and adults go all out to represent their country. Here are a burst of creative outfits from a queen show I attended.

National wear by various teenagers

If you're not Grenadian or you don't have a Grenadian relative/friend, you need to get one kuai yi dian (quickly). How else will you taste Oil Down? It's finger licking good. It's the only national dish in the entire Caribbean known to stop time and knock out the strongest of men.

It's a tight cook-up of salted meat, breadfruit, green bananas, local ground provision, dumplings, callaloo (dasheen leaves), in that order, covered in coconut milk and saffron or curry. Evolved varieties include chicken, salted fish, and whatever vegetables you desire. My first Chinese Oil Down even had prawns in it. As my good friend always says, don't hate, appreciate!

Coconut trophy
I am officially addicted to stealing sampling coconut before it is grated for fresh coconut milk. Guess old habits live to die another day.

Layers of an Oil Down
Layering is the key to a successful oil down and as a bonus the sticky bottom, locally called the 'burn burn' (pronounced as bun bun) offers the richest flavor of the entire dish so you know the possibility of leftovers is rare. Oil down is never limited by place, people or time. There is roadside, beach, and work oil down. It can feed a family days and is usually the official food of Independence week.

In addition to food and clothes, everyone will gather at the National Stadium to watch the parade of uniformed groups, be entertained by cultural performances and Venezuelan paratroopers and rebuff their national shine with speeches by government officials. Because at the end of it all, true loyalty to your country is celebrating its victories and doing the best you can to ensure more of them.

Bermuda Triangle cocktail

Cheers Grenada and Happy 40th Independence Anniversary to all my country mates at home and abroad!! Celebrate loud and proud!!