Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I cooked for Jamaican wife, mother-in-law, and stepdaughter. It was an atypical Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, turkey, macaroni and cheese, perogies, corn, saute vegetables, and gravy. For dessert pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
While cooking my mind ran back to Mama who used to cook for me when I lived in Gambia. She was 18 and like all women in Gambia were great cooks; benechin, chicken yassa, and beef domada. All of these were my favorite dishes. In addition, I taught her to cook dishes from childhood, mash potatoes, chicken and beef stew, fried chicken, eggs over easy, pan-fried, fried potatoes, fried rice, and rice crispy squares. In summary ‘white people’s food’.
Before leaving for Canada for a vacation I moved from the Baha’i Centre in Bakau home where a woman from Guinea Bissau women worked in the house. I no longer required Mama to work for me.
A few months after my return to Gambia I heard a familiar voice, from outside my compound, it was Mama. I invited her in to catch up on how we’re things with her. She told me that she now had a job as a short-order cook at one of the tourist hotel restaurants, making 2 times what I paid her. Normally you gained employment following 2 years at GTHI, the hospitality and restaurant school in Gambia.
I asked her how was she was able to get the job as a cook, she told me that Mister Chris taught her to make ‘white people food’.
Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and family. I miss our large family Thanksgiving dinner.