Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Fruit and Veggies at the Parlour

When I was growing up, we ran to the parlour at the end of the road for everything from salt prunes, pepper mango and pennycools (sp?) to milk, sugar and eggs. The concept of the "parlour" is a distinctly Caribbean one. We have them all throughout the islands . Basically roadside shops, they sell an assortment of culinary haberdashery. Each country will have their own version of snacks but the true beauty of these little shops is in their fruit and vegetables. Most, if not all, of the produce has never been refrigerated. It is being sold usually within a mile or two from its source. Many of the things that show up in country parlours never make into the big supermarkets. You may be lucky and chance upon a batch of cherry tomatoes or a grappe of extra big pommeracs (malay apples). I have three or four parlours around my neighbourhood. Boysie's is run by Angela, Terrence and sisters. Terrence is the golden boy and is a wise sage for his age. He is always ready with cryptic advice. Located less than a quarter mile from the country's mental asylum or the "Mad House", a visit to Boysie's to pick up newspapers, maggi cubes, or my constant addiction, Diet Coke!, is often excitement filled. The melee of mentally challenged drifters sound more ominous than they really are. They are harmless (mostly) and can be quite amusing delivering their sotto voice social commentaries from the sidelines with a comical , cruel clarity. I made the mistake of arriving the other day without lipstick (BIG CRIME for the mentally challenged) and got told off for appearing without it. Oh the joys of life in the tropics. You have to laugh!These were some of the offerings at the parlour yesterday. Above is Caraili, or bitter gourd. It is supposed to be quite a delicacy and is stuffed by many of the Chinese restaurants. I can't eat it at all, it is too bitter for me. If you say you can eat cariilii, I look at you with new respect. It is BITTER. Trinifood over at Can Cook, Must Cook has some great things to say about caraili.
Lovely scotch bonnet peppers.
Home grown ochroes. I like to see the little twists and turns of an imperfect vegetable as it says to me that maybe a whole lot of chemicals were not used to produce it. Perfection makes me suspicious.Pawpaw or papaya ready to be eaten. I sometimes have a slice for breakfast with just a dash of lime and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Pawpaw seeds very easily but there is a story about male and female trees and if you get the male, no fruit.
Terrence giving somebody chat.


Lilla Blanka said...

Just wanted to say Hi :) I just found your beautiful blog!
Love the photos!
Mia (Sweden)

My Chutney Garden said...

Hi Lilla,
Thank for stopping by. I think you are my first visitor from Sweden so thanks for coming. I will come by and see you too,

Genie said...

Sharon, I love your insights into the veggies -- I agree with you...perfection can be worrisome when it comes to veggies!

Barbara said...

I'm getting hungry when reading your post and seeing these "unknown" vegies!

My Chutney Garden said...

Thanks everyone for visiting.

Viekevie said...

I know this parlour. Still I can't believe your pictures make the ordinary extraordinary.

william said...