In Guyana, Christmas breakfast means Pepperpot. Jeremy and I decided to give the traditional recipe a go.
It's easy to see why it's a Holiday favorite. The recipe combines a grab-bag of meat with cassareep (a sauce made from cassava), orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, onion, thyme, brown sugar, and hot peppers. We cooked it for three hours, and it filled our house with a savory mix of exotic and familiar Christmas smells.
Despite the long cook time, the recipe was simple, and the meat came out very tasty. This recipe is definitely going to become a holiday family tradition. I guess this means we'll need to find a reliable source of cassareep in the U.S. In my search for a good pepperpot recipe, I read internet tales of counterfeit cassareep sold in New York City that turned out to be soy sauce.
There are a couple things we'll change next year. First, we will try to find some fattier meat. We bought beef stew meat to avoid dealing with bones, but even after 3 hours of cooking, we never got that juicy, falling-apart meat that I've seen in Guyanese pepperpots. Second, we decided to substitute a couple of Jeremy's farm-grown habanero peppers in for the traditional wiri wiri peppers. The result was very spicy. Next year, we'll stick to just one.
Most mornings I take minibuses to work. Sadly, minibuses in Guyana do not have a cute name on par with the "tro-tros" of Ghana, or the "car rapides" of Senegal (which were anything but "rapide".)
Most of the time, passengers pass the ride without talking much, as the buses are filled with the sounds of reggae, sappy R&B, or Christian music, depending on the taste of the driver. This morning, however, my entire bus had a conversation about what was wrong with kids these days. Complaints (imagine them in a Caribbean accent) included:
1. They don't own their own houses. ("I'm on my pension now and I'm not paying nobody!"
2. They won't work long hours at low wage jobs. ("I was workin' every day for GYD200! Except Saturday and Sunday.")
3. They don't cook fresh food. ("They're just stickin' it in the microwave!")
4. Their clothing styles are scandalous. ("They walk down the street and their bottoms just hang!")
No mentions were made of walking a mile to school in snow, uphill both ways.
I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.