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Selkirk Grace


Some hae meat and cannot eat.

Some cannot eat that want it:

But we hae meat and we can eat,

Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Address to a Haggis


Fair fa` your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o the puddin`-race!

Aboon them a` ye tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:

Weel are ye wordy of a grace

As lang`s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,

Your hurdies like a distant hill,

Your pin wad help to mend a mill

In time o need,

While thro your pores the dews distil

Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,

An cut you up wi ready slight,

Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

Like onie ditch;

And then, O what a glorious sight,

Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:

Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,

Till a` their weel-swall`d kytes belyve

Are bent like drums;

The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,

`Bethankit` hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,

Or olio that wad staw a sow,

Or fricassee wad mak her spew

Wi perfect sconner,

Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view

On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,

As feckless as a wither`d rash,

His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,

His nieve a nit:

Thro bloody flood or field to dash,

O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,

The trembling earth resounds his tread,

Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

He`ll make it whissle;

An legs an arms, an heads will sned,

Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow`rs, wha mak mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill o fare,

Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies:

But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,

Gie her a Haggis!


For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We`ll tak a cup of kindness yet,

For auld lang syne!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne?

And surely ye`ll be your pint-stowp,

And surely I`ll be mine,

And we`ll tak a cup o kindness yet,

For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,

And pou`d the gowans fine,

But we`ve wander`d monie a weary fit,

Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl`d in the burn

Frae morning sun till dine,

But seas between us braid hae roar`d

Sin auld lang syne.

And there`s a hand my trusty fiere,

And gie`s a hand o thine,

And we`ll tak a right guid-willie waught,

For auld lang syne.

The Clan Tartan:

so we`re doing it a little early and we`re serving lamb leg instead of haggis. it`s the closest night we can get everyone together and no one is willing to even attempt the haggis.

oh sugar, sugar now

October 22, 2004 — Leave a comment

i wrote about a week and a half ago in foodieporn about how much i need that Caribbean washed grey sugar, what i didn`t mention is how much i miss things actually made with real sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup.

for those of you that are old enough to remember there was a time when everything sweet was made with real sugar and it was good. in the Caribbean there is no government subsidised corn so everything from soda to candy is still made with real sugar.

there is a certain je ne c`est quoi to a Coca-Cola made with real sugar, unless you`ve had one, it`s kind of hard to explain. there is also no surer way to ruin a good chocolate bar than to use a sugar substitute.

it was one of the first things i noticed when i moved here, everything tasted `different.` i miss the taste of sugar in my vices. it`s not impossible to find it, it`s just extraordinarily difficult. Coke bottles a special variety for Passover with sugar, because corn and by extension corn syrup is not kosher, i`m not sure about the size of Nashville`s Jewish population, but you can be sure i`ll be on the prowl for it closer to Passover. i also discovered if you can find it, Coke from Mexico is made with real sugar, i`ve had it once at a restaurant here and when i went back the next time, they were out.

cophereth asked what i used to season with and i started this long treatise in the comments and realised it was better suited as a post.

i`m deadly allergic to shellfish and have a mild allergy to fish, so i`m pretty much a carnivore. although with all the over processing, i`m cutting chicken from my diet, i just don`t like the way it makes me feel.

so my choices are pretty much beef and pork. i feel safe with the beef here, it`s grown by a variety of farms in large pastures, not processed, which is what caused mad cow in the first place.

but onto the seasoning. i usually clean with lime, to cut the freshness and trim according to what i`m going to do with it. next step is dicing onions, peppers, garlic, chadon beni and some other green seasoning, i also use a lot of dried bottled seasonings, oregano, parsley, celery seeds, thyme and my favourites, ground black pepper and butcher`s grade pepper. my cupboard also always contains, aromatic bitters, ground chilis and teriyaki sauce.

i put the meat in a bowl and start adding stuff, there is not methodology, it`s just about a sense of what seems right, it hasn`t lead me wrong thus far.

i come from a family of hypertensives, so i don`t use salt much, pretty much only on chicken, otherwise i use whatever is at hand. recently i got a small bottle of absolut and i`ve made beef marinated in vodka.

cooking is an adventure for me. and the fact that my diet is going to be severely limited for the next couple of months, i need to make what i`m eating interesting.

breakfast of champions

October 30, 2003 — Leave a comment

i`m a big fan of doubles.

and this week in my poverty ridden state, they have been my saviour, for less than TT$10 [the exchange rate is $6.2 to the US$, you do the math] each day i can eat enough to keep me sustained throughout the day.

i have a regular doubles man, always a good thing, you know how hot the pepper is, what the right balance of chutney is and if you`re really hard up you can drop the cash for him another day.

i`ve been eating doubles from this guy for almost a decade. i first had his doubles at my first advertising job, he had his stand right up the road from the office, eventually he moved and i lost track of him for a little while and about two years ago i came across him in st. james. he`s there 6 days a week, he doesn`t work mondays, and most days he`s completely sold out by 11am.

the key to a good doubles for me is a light barra, a subtle combination of pepper, mango/coconut/cucumber chutney and a touch of shadon beni and fairly firm channa.

unlike a lover, i`m not necessarily faithful to one doubles man, i have a couple that i visit and i`ve been know to stray to any available doubles man when hunger strikes.

curepe is the home of late night doubles. too early to be breakfast, too late to be anything else, curepe is a must stop for the post party doubles craving, even if it entails driving completely the opposite direction from where you live.

such is the siren song of a good doubles.

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had my belly full this morning, even brought some back to the office. i`d love to share but since they don`t travel well here`s a recipe i found online:


Dough (Bara)

    2 cups flour

    ½ tsp salt

    1 tsp saffron powder

    ½ tsp ground pepper

    1 tsp yeast

    1/3 cup warm water

    ¼ tsp sugar

    Oil for frying


Filling (Curried Channa)

     ½ lb channa, soaked overnight

    1½ tbsp curry powder

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    1 onion, sliced

    1 tbsp corn oil

    Pinch of ground gheera

    Pepper sauce



In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, saffron and gheera.                

In a separate small bowl place the warm water, sugar and yeast and set to sponge for 5 minutes.                

To the flour, add the yeast mixture and enough water to make a slightly firm dough. Mix well, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 1½ hours.                

For the filling, heat the oil in a heavy skillet, add onion, garlic and 1½ tablespoon of curry powder mixed with ¼ cup water; sauté for a few minutes.                

Add the channa, stir to coat well and cook for five minutes.                

Add 1 cup water, gheera, salt and pepper; cover, lower heat and simmer until the peas are very soft. When the channa is finished it should be moist and soft. Season to taste with salt if desired.                

For the bara: The dough should be punched down and allowed to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.                

To shape the bara, take 1 tablespoon of the dough and flatten to a round, 4 or 5 inches in diameter. Use water to moisten palms of your hands if the dough is sticking to them.                

Fry the baras in hot oil, turn oonce and drain on kitchen (brown) paper.                

When all are cooked, fill with channa by placing 2 tablespoons of the cooked filling on each bara, covering with another to form a sandwich. Serve with pepper sauce or mango chutney.  

and there is another one here      

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i went out with k and danced the night away and i ache and i’m exhausted. there was a time when i would have been rearing to go again, right now all i want to do is crawl back into bed. and that’s not a bad idea at this point, it’s raining, it’s been raining all morning, i really just got out of bed to forage for food. i’m ravenous, but there doesn’t appear to be much to eat and i don’t particularly feel like leaving the house, the whole concept of putting clothes on and going out right now is just unappealing.

even in light of all this pain and exhaustion, i’m still planning on going to this old school party next weekend, c’mon, evelyn champagne king, live and i’m going to miss it? i think not.

it’s too early to call in for food, no fruit, dammit, looks i’m actually have to go out. whoops a fresh downpour i think not. there must be something i’d eat in here.

i’ll be back

btw for those of you keeping track vic will be here in 26 days


June 21, 2003 — Leave a comment

well, i went to the office and picked up my power adaptor, so now i don’t have to worry about the machine running out of juice in the middle of doing something. this morning i had to take a trek to st. james to get doubles, it’s been a while – doubles truly the breakfast of champions.

the sun is still blisteringly hot, haven’t had much rain so far for the weekend, i’m waiting to see how this becomes my fault in the monday production meeting. the hp is out and i don’t have a copy yet. there are on sale here, but if i shell out the cash to buy one today, i’m going to be destitute again, so i think i’ll wait til i get paid this week.

last night i continued this great book of short stories called the book of ifs and buts (i can’t remember the author at the moment) but the stories are all about immigrants and immigration and well written and captivating. read til i fell asleep.

anyway i’m hot and sticky in more ways than one, so i’m going to grab a shower and wash my hair, be back later.

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doubles are a uniquely trinidad delicay made of channa (chickpeas) wrapped in barra (lightly fried… tortilla… would probably the best description). because of where i live and work and their proximity to each other it’s almost impossible to get one, much less a good one. i haven’t had a good doubles in weeks. 

i’m balancing how much cash i have, how much i need to travel and get me through the day, how much needs to be done this morning at work and how difficult it is for me to detour to go and get some doubles. i tire of the pastries from the bakery downstairs my office. 

my cashflow at the moment is somewhat strained, waiting on the annual report (project from hell from about a week ago) cash to come in and we have to reselect models for the shoot this weekend per my boss’ insturctions. somehow i think doubles are out. i should actually be getting ready for work as we speak, but here i am blogging and checking my mail. 

i would really rather stay home and work this morning (actually i just want to stay home) but we’ve got preproduction on this weekend’s shoot and a couple of shoots over the next couple of weeks. sigh. and the interview. 

i’m going to get going, while i can stil convince myself but before i go, here is your moment of zen

merry happy

May 11, 2003 — Leave a comment

today is mother’s day, so to those of you who are celebrating, all the blessings and joy to you on this day.

all my food prep for lunch is done and i just finished watching the rules of engagement very strange and surreal little flick, i quite enjoyed it. the soundtrack is amazing and visually, it’s got that crisp independent feel without the shoddy camera work.

as the day progresses it’s getting hotter and hotter and i’m waiting on my exwife to call (she’s joining us for lunch) so i can start cooking. lunch is going to take 45 minutes exactly, right now all i have to do is put the stuff in the dishes and stick it in the oven.

i’m making a baked rice with chicken & mushrooms, one dish. based on a recipe i got from campbell’s (the base of dish is cream of mushoom soup)

i had forgotten what a joy cooking was, i still loathe my mother’s kitchen but the smell of seasoning on my hands makes it all go away. i miss the adventure, the smells, the anticipation of making something new. sigh.

i’m looking forward to sharing a kitchen with vic, who makes any culinary skills i have seem piddling by comparison. just another reason that she is my constant joy.

so i live with my dear sainted mother (her opinion, not mine), don’t get me wrong, i love her but oh lord i don’t like some of her ways. anyway my mother’s skill base does not include domestic goddess. accountant extraordinaire, wonderful organiser but not a domestic goddess.

what does this have to do with ordering you ask?

well my mother’s kitchen…

how do i put this… it’s a disaster area, it requires divine intervention…

i can and like to cook but the kitchen scares me, so i live on take in, but it gets really troubling when my number comes up in the computer and they know what i want to order and i have conversations with the delivery drivers.

that seems like a sign i should cut back, but what are my options really, even if i add up all the money i spend on ordering food it’s still cheaper than having someone come in and remodel the kitchen and besides it would take my mother about a week to return it to it’s current state.

now that i’ve gotten that off my chest, it’s back to charmed and alias later.

yes, i’m still sitting in front of the tv, the joys of laptop computing.