I must have been about 7 or maybe 8 my first memory of being in our kitchen with my Dad. There I was tiptoed on the chair peering into the floured mixture
“I want to do it Dad, can I have a go”. He slowly pushed the heavy bowl towards me & said follow me. And I did.
Cooking with my parents was such a big deal for me, looking back now, I was always fascinated with the process. It was like MAGIC, one minute flour, water, salt, next minute scrumptious fried dumplins dripping with butter & special baked beans to soak up the crispy dough. The smell that changed from room to room. Excited children now centred in anticipation of a feast. All that would follow……. seating, laying the table (being Mum), dishing up and always proudly announcing my contribution of course!!! “I cooked the dumplins all by my self (not entirely) but no one questioned me. Heads down, grace complete & begin. I’m 49 now & those memories are as vivid today as if it was yesterday.
May 2011 – Extended maternity leave. 12 years in & exhausted by almost everything. 6th child & a demanding career eagerly awaiting my return. Mum had been diagnosed with Dementia & Dad had passed in 2003.
I realise that Mum & Dad were very much the same people in my eyes.
I didnt feel completely alone or orphaned until Mum passed, it was like losing both this time. She, my Mother never ever gave up on me, she actually repeatedly told me.“ Monica , keep going” put God first & don’t give up!”
She believed & defended me many, many times
(Stories for another day). How on earth could I ever honour their nurturing, unconditional love. Coming from so far & sacrificing so much for us.
Ms Dat….that’s what they called her back home. In patois ( Jamaican language) although it was actually Ms Dot because she was such a tiny dot even as a young women. What better way to honour, remember & keep her close than to start a Caribbean business in her name.
Datties Soul Food
And so May 2012 (with Mum’s blessing), we opened our first shop. 8 years and over 200 catering events later, that little, inquisitive girl is the Director of Datties Soul Food Ltd feeding over 4,500 people from all cultures.
‘ Passionate about food – Passionate about people’
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