It is about that time: Maurice’s Sunday Supper.
This month my guests are two poets and an academic so I’m sure the conversation will be on point as they are all wonderful smart beautiful people. So, that means I just need to worry about my responsibility, the meal. I try to pick meals that I am either craving, want to try, or have a special place in my heart. To that end, you won’t find extremely fancy meals at my dinner party, no Top Chef wanna be here, but what I hope you have if you come to my Sunday supper is the feeling of “going home.” I am not trying to wow you, I am trying to welcome you, make you feel loved.
This month I am cooking a meal I have loved since I was about 12. It is a simple meal with a very simple story.
When my family moved back state-side from the UK, for a summer we had a Jamaican lady who was going through a tough time, stay with us. She was so beautiful to me. Though she was sad, when she laughed it was full on, and her hair was a take on Toni Braxton’s except hers was a honey-brown. And when she walked, it seemed like she was two steps away from dancing. Well, one day, she was in the kitchen cooking, which was odd as I only knew her to eat but not to cook. I didn’t think she could. But, there she was, showing my mom, the best cook I knew, how to make a dish (my mom had already ate it before but wasn’t sure how to prep it). The smells were beyond seductive, and when I had my first bowl of the concoction served over hot white rice, I was taken over. It is one of my strongest food memories.
Later, I found out that curry is originally Indian and that colonialism was responsible for this black Jamaican woman knowing this dish, and I found out that she made it too thick, but, as with nearly all cherished childhood memories, I didn’t care. And while, from time to time, I get “fancy with it,” throwing in coconut milk or thinning it out (basically making it “properly”), no version, not even proper Indian curry, hits the spot the way her version does. I love it so much that every year, for my birthday celebration dinner, my mom makes this dish. And as it is still my birthday month, I am making it for my guests tomorrow: Jamaican Guest Chicken Curry. Prep done. Now, what in the world will I make for dessert. Are coconut dumplings a thing?