Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Jamaican Culture - The Jerk Pit

The Jerk Pit - A Jamaican Restaurant

Jamaican jerk is a special blend of spices used to season meat. The three main ingredients are pepper, pimento (allspice) and thyme. Other spices and herbs could include escallion (green onion), garlic, cloves, salt, cinnamon and ginger. The meat is seasoned with the blend of herbs and spices and left to marinate overnight. It is then grilled. Delicious!

If you are a Jamaican or just LOVE Jamaican spicey food and you live in Baltimore, Maryland in the vicinity of the University of Maryland, you should visit the Jerk Pit. This is a real Jamaican restaurant which serves a variety of very tasty jerk dishes. Other Jamaican dishes are also served.

You can visit the Website and also enjoy some Bob Marley music by clicking here.

It is located in the Campus Villages, 8145-C Baltimore Avenue, College Park, MD 20740 (2 blocks north of the University of Maryland). Telephone: 301-982-JERK (5375). Opening hours are Monday through Thursday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM to midnight.

This restaurant is owned and operated by the very charming Lisa Waddell-Rose, a Jamaican living in Maryland. Lisa is a perfectionist and her food speaks for itself! Lisa is my wife's niece.

Lisa also sells Jamaican coconut water (thirst quenching!) and Jamaican T-shirts.

Spread the word about this restaurant! Do you know anyone living in or who visits the Baltimore area near to the University of Maryland? Tell them to check out this restaurant. They will not regret it! The food is irie! Yeah man!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Jamaican Culture - A Jamaican Market

Here are some pictures taken in a Jamaican market showing sorrel, gungo peas and miscellaneous produce.

Some Jamaicans will get their produce at the supermarkets but, for some Jamaicans, going to the market is a must! They feel that the market has better quality produce and the items are available at a cheaper price since they will 'bargain' with the individual market vendors.

The above picture shows various Jamaican produce. Some of the produce shown are irish potatoes, pumpkin, cabbages and tomatoes. Also shown is a scale being used to weigh yams. This picture was taken on a Friday when there is much activity in the Jamaican market.

Gungo peas is shown in the above picture and is a favourite among many Jamaicans, including my wife and I. It is grown by a number of Jamaicans especially in the rural areas.

In the United States, it is called 'pigeon peas' and is available in tins (both green and dry) in most supermarkets. Caribbean supermarkets are the only supermarkets that I have seen gungo peas untinned. Jamaicans prefer the untinned gungo.

Gungo peas is eaten in a variety of ways by Jamaicans such as rice and peas, stewed gungo and gungo peas soup (with ham bone after Christmas!). Gungo peas is very popular at Christmas time. Most Jamaicans prefer eating green gungo at Christmas and Christmas is not the same without gungo peas. After Christmas, it is time for gungo peas soup with the ham bone left back from the Christmas ham!

If you visit some Jamaican homes the following week after Christmas, the meal will be gungo peas and ham bone soup! You will also notice a number of family members and friends present that day to get their soup.

Another Jamaican favourite is red kidney beans which is also used to make the same dishes as gungo peas but the favorite dishes for these beans is 'stew peas and rice', 'rice and peas' and 'red peas soup'. The Jamaican 'man in the street' calls red kidney beans 'red peas' - If you say 'red kidney beans', a number of Jamaicans will not know what you are referring to!

Above is a picture of sorrel which makes an all-time Jamaican favourite drink at Christmas time! It's a delicious drink!

This is truly the Jamaican Culture!