Growing Up Black
Who can forget what it was like growing up in a Caribbean home? Aside from fearing your parents about anything to do with school, food, chores and ornaments were a major part of our lives! to name a few.
Although we can’t rewind the clock, we thought we’d reminisce on the TEN things we experienced growing up. Vol.1
1. You had to clean every Saturday morning
Lie-ins didn’t exist. And you could forget about watching cartoons too. The house had to be cleaned from top to bottom and the clothes had to be ironed for church the next day or school the following week – and there was no escaping it. Sometimes, it would even run into the afternoon when you had plans. You just had to suck it up and clean without looking miserable.
2. Waking up to the smell of food
The weekend hadn’t started unless the smell of something amazing woke you up with a smile. It didn’t matter what it was; it smelt great. If you were really lucky it was a full-on breakfast of ackee & saltfish with fried dumpling or Run down (mackerel, boiled green banana and dumpling). These dishes would keep you satisfied for most of the day.
3. Singing while cooking = a feast for dinner
The chef of the house would either hum or sing when they cooked. That was a sign that it was about to go down in the kitchen. Once the singing began, the smell of food filled the house. On the odd occasion though, the sweet-smelling food was for someone else.
4. Sneaking in the kitchen to eat from the dutch pot (quietly)
Yes. We all did it even though we were strictly told not to touch the pot until it was dinner time. We couldn’t help ourselves. It was the same routine every week: you ran to get a fork or spoon, tiptoed back to the pot and helped yourself to whatever was inside.
5. Getting told off for eating from the pot when your mum’s in the other room
Seriously, though, how did they hear us? You were extra careful when taking the closest piece of meat. Yet, despite our careful planning and silence, they just knew what we were about to do and shouted at us even though they couldn’t see us. It’s scary.
6. Three carbs in one meal was standard
You weren’t really hungry but you couldn’t resist the food. Rice and Peas took up most of the plate, then mac and cheese and then roast potatoes with meat and (overcooked) veg. You tackled the feast and then you hated yourself because you couldn’t move. Then, an hour later (yeah right, 30 mins max) you helped yourself to seconds as if you didn’t learn the first time around.
7. You couldn’t use any of the stuff in the cabinet
You’ll never forget the ‘good’ crockery that only surfaced once a year; two if you’re lucky. In fact, they’re probably still there now. And don’t get us started on the plates with the gold rim that couldn’t go in the microwave…
8. Don’t take the plastic slip covers off the couch – even though it’s 20+ years old!
Photo: David Alison
What was up with the plastic covers?! They were awkward to sit on and it made getting comfortable a longer process than necessary. It was either freezing to sit on in Winter or unbearable when you’re hot and sticky in summer. But…rules were rules and you had to obey.
9. The living room was only for special guests
The living room was almost always locked and you never knew where the key was. But when the doorbell rang, your parents ushered them in the living room. And you, sadly, weren’t invited to join. You had to know your place.
10. The Ice Cream container that never had Ice Cream in it!
You 100% wanted the Neapolitan ice cream but instead you got leftovers from some time or another. And then you lost hope in there ever being real ice cream in the freezer. The disappointment was real! Word of warning: don’t trust the ice cream tub.