Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Death Of A Confection-ist

A sweet vendor near Memorial Park, Trinidad, West Indies

Outside Holy Name Convent, Port of Spain and across the street at Memorial Park there stands a lady who sells snacks. She has corn curls and soft drinks and mango chow. But she is also knowledgeable about the traditional tuckshop sweets that are now a thing of the not too distant past. Remember the Tolom? Chili Bibi?Guava sweets?

You can still buy the first two, but the last is hardest to come by. It seems that the gentleman who used to make and prepare the sweet by hand, cutting the wooden sticks, boiling the guavas and creating the perfect little burgundy coloured confection, has died and his children and grandchildren have no desire to continue the tradition. So sadly it is a hazy memory, but not in the hearts of children who are now adults, who remember the brown paper wrapped confection that fit perfectly in the mouth, sucked down to the stick, the stick lingering until the guava taste dissipated, the cost of such joy, less than a quarter. - Adele

Bagging her chow

Preparing mango chow can make your mouth water. Half ripe mangoes are peeled and chopped into slices then seasoned with salt, pepper,vinegar and sliced cucumbers or pineapple with secret ingredient, Shadow Beni to give it its aromatic taste and smell. Shadow Beni is powerfully pungent Caribbean garden herb.

Mango Chow

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