Acacia: Comfort Food

By Brenda McCartney

Sunday morning an elderly friend drove up in the church yard with the back of his red pick-up truck laden with spice leaves (pimento) for anyone who wishes to have some. I got so excited thinking about what I would do with the spice leaves (bush) after church. An older lady asked  what could she use the leaves for, I told her that you can use it in souse, porridge, to cook meat, tea or as a bed for grilling meats. Personally, I could not wait to go home to cook (boil) some porridge. What was truly priceless was a simple expression from my daughter as her eyes lit up and she said ” I love flour porridge”  that filled me with a sense of pride.

Thinking about the porridge takes me back to the first time I came to the Bahamas and was home sick and cooked some flour porridge (flour pap) and my landlord at the time (I was in college) associated it with growing up poor.  She was not an unkind woman she was just misinformed; I sighed and gave her a short shrug and concentrated on my porridge. The few seconds of discomfort were washed away as my flour porridge eased me through the sadness and longing for home that I felt and linked me back to my grandmother’s nurturing. Thinking about it now, if I grew up poor I did not know it at the time.

Sometimes in life because we are from different cultures/backgrounds there is an inability to connect and words said with certain intonations can have such a profound effect. My friends, we have no control over what people say or do we have to deal with it,  perception is everything and only us knows what is important to us. In life we can find something to love about each person even though they fail to understand our need for things that makes us comfortable.

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