Today’s Visual Recipe is “Chow,” a Trinidadian favorite. It is not a meal…it is a savory, fruity experience. My recipe uses pommecythere (called golden apple or june plum in other regions) because it is now in season; but the father of all chows in Trinidad & Tobago is the Mango chow.
Mango chow evokes wonderful memories of my childhood with my cousins. For us it is “summer in a bowl.” We had a ritual when it came to making chow. My cousins and I (4-5 of us) would arm ourselves with sharpened stones or smashed red-brick pieces, and rods for “chookin” de tree. After stoning the tree and collecting our mangoes, we headed to the kitchen to design our delight. Some were responsible for peeling the mangoes, others for getting the seasonings ready, and others for tasting it seems. After we had everything diced, sliced, and chopped up, we put everything in the bowl, shook the hell out of it so that all the pieces were covered in the wonderfulness of chow sauce. We then placed the bowl in the sun while we stood guarding it with forks in hand and sharpened teeth ready to destroy! After approximately 283 seconds (the longest we could hold out for) someone would say “Ah tink dat good yes,” and we would all charge at the bowl with our glasses of cold water at our sides.
Now there were different “chow personalities.” One cousin would sweat like crazy while eating (pepper made him sweat), another cousin and I would “sooooot” from start to finish, and yet another would eat and drink water continually. Why we used to make it so hot (meaning with plenty pepper) I don’t know. After we ate it all, then came, THE CHAUCE!!! Let me say it again…THE CHAUCE!!!! … De chow sauce – CHAUCE! The bowl would start by the eldest (or the one who did most of the work), they would drink some of the chauce, and pass it around to the rest of us. I could remember the faces of those who were awaiting their turn. LOL!. If you don’t know what desire looks like, experience the chauce ritual with your friends. This would continue until the bowl was empty, our stomachs were filled and our faces beaming!
Any chow, (mango, pomerac, pommecythere, guava, five-fingers, or whatever else) was for us a bonding experience, we formed a community around mango chow; from making it to eating it and finishing it. Even now, I think of chow and smile from all those memories. I made some yesterday.
You will notice I didn’t put any measurements in the visual recipe. I think chow should be an expression of you and your crew. Experiment and find your signature…
You are more than welcome to print this visual recipe, and place it in your kitchen.
ENJOY DE CHAUCE!!!!
This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.