By Curtis Morton
The way I see it, I maintain that little boys should be taught right early how to cook.
Currently, I am attending a pastry making class at the Jessups community center.
Yes siree bob!
Imagine that huh?
When I was growing up as a little boy, such things were unheard of.
We boys were taught to sweep the yard; fork and hoe; climb the mango trees to pick mangoes and such like.
My one sister was taught to sweep the house; wash clothes; cook and bake.
My poor sister!
Any boy who even hinted towards learning to cook and so on would be called or referred to with some unkind names….
And so at age 20 or thereabout, I went on a Public Health course in St.Lucia and not having a clue about cooking!
However, that was not a problem because for the first part of the course, I landed with a family and I paid them for my meals.
The second part of the course—year two, started even better, I landed with seven other classmates, including the late Carlylse W. Hobson and we gelled together well.
They made life easy for me: Everybody pooled together to buy foodstuff; the men washed dishes and the girls cooked.
This went on for some time.
Then one afternoon, to my horror, I came home and met the Dominican and the Grenadian ladies going helter skelter at each other, in one heated argument.
At first I paid them no mind, until I heard the Dominican (CHIEF COOK) say quite loudly: ‘Well, you know what? From now on, every tub gonna stand on its own bottom. Everybody gonna cook for themselves.’
Well, you know that caught my attention!
I suddenly found cause to intervene and I told them to patch up and make up and ‘blessed are the peace makers….’
It did not work. The end result was that everybody now had to cook for themselves.
Problems again! Well I newa!
I wrote to my now dear departed mother, an urgent letter and I requested that she send a recipe for me to learn to cook rice; to fry chicken and make a sauce.
My dear reader, please understand that those were not days with cell phones and internet. It was the day of the eternal snail mail.
In the interim, I virtually finished off my stipend at a restaurant called ‘The Green Parrot.’
For the first week, I bought food—food. By the second week, I could only manage a chicken roti as my main meal for the day.
By the third week, it was only pride that kept me from asking our rich neighbour next door for some of the back and necks he was cooking for his three big dogs!
The response took about four weeks to get back to me.
You must understand the joy of receiving that letter.
I waited until everyone was out of the house and I placed that letter on the kitchen counter and I started my thing. Hey, I am pretty good at following instructions and my mother was a good writer and a great teacher.
So, I got through the rice part okay. At least I did not do like a former neighbour of mine who when she realized that the midday hour was arriving and the water had not boiled out as yet, she threw in some fresh grains of rice. She almost broke out her boyfriend’s teeth!
I fried the chicken as per instructions and I was dealing with the sauce part when Hobson returned.
You could see the shock on his face: Curtis was cooking!
He walked into the kitchen and pretended he was going to the sink, all the while peeping into the frying pan. I shifted to block his view.
Every move he made, I shifted accordingly.
But poor me. He was taller than I was. He just stood behind me and looked into the frying pan.
‘What you making…soup?’ he asked sarcastically.
‘Is so I like it,’ I replied sharply.
All the while I was learning that I had put in too much water in the thing but I could let him know that I did not know what I was doing!
Years later, I can now handle myself pretty well in the kitchen. I even tell my wife that if I take this thing serious, I would cause traffic jams in Hull Ground!
Things have changed and now we have a lot of male master chefs and so I am appealing to all parents to make sure that not only your little girls learn to cook but your boys as well.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?