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The air was filled with the smell of curry, coconut and candy...

Submitted by Mary-Evelyn Lee
Essex 4-H - 4-H Spice Club
(Posted May 17, 2012)

As the spice club travels 'Around the world in 80 spices', we made a stop in the Carribean Islands this meeting. We met at Mrs Matthews home on the afternoon of May 12th. After dividing into groups we jumped right into the exotic cooking of the islands. The house was soon filled with the smell of curry, coconut and candy. We sampled Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Curried Lamb, Roti (Buss-up-shot style), Carnival Corn Soup, Coconut rice and pigeon peas, as well as Trinidadian Toolum.

The room got quiet, as all feasted on the Island fare, lips smacking, and mostly thumbs up for each dish. We talked about peppermint, its uses as tea (which we sampled), herbal remedy and digestive helper. We also talked about the use of curry, cilantro, dill, thyme, cumin, coriander and other spices which are blended to make Jerk marinade.

One of the focuses today was on the "heat" of food. It is measured in Scoville units. 1,000 being the average "heat" of a hot sauce most people use. Mrs Matthews visited a store where they sold a sauce that was 1,000,000 scoville units. The saleswoman said it was so hot you really couldn't taste the food under it. Then they showed her a 4,000,000 scoville unit hot sauce called "Z" as in the last letter of the alphabet, and the most hot you can have. If you purchase this you must sign a waiver to release the store from responsibility for burns...we decided that was just a little "too hot" for our 4-H club.

We held our business meeting after the meal, discussing our next meeting: which will be held on June 10th 2pm at Mrs. Matthews home. Next month we will be enjoying a mix of Dutch/Indonesian cooking, as well as studying the art of fruit carving with a guest chef.

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