BOG WALK, St Catherine:"FOLLOW THE recipe and you'll never go wrong!" was the advice from Shantina Simpson, a grade 10 home economics student at Bog Walk High School in St Catherine
Simpson assisted in preparing a number of dishes and pastries that were not only showcased at the first staging of Eat Jamaican Day Expo, hosted by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) at the school on Monday, but were also consumed by students, parents, and teachers.
"It was the first time I was baking cassava pudding and the ginger bulla, but I did drops and grater cake before," a proud Simpson toldThe Gleaner.
She was guided by Denise Fullwood, head of the institution's Home Economics Department, who toldThe Gleanerthat the school's aim was to showcase creative and unique dishes, pastries, and juices.
"The ones that are different for me, especially, are the cassava pudding and the chicken run-down. We thought everybody knew about mackerel run-down already, so we made a change. Then there are ackee, callaloo, and pumpkin punches," Fullwood explained. "We have ginger bulla, too. It has a little more ginger to make it more Jamaican."
She added: "The sorrel jam was also a first. A student did that. We also experimented with bread pudding ... . We actually did ackee and bread and made a savoury sauce for it from milk, onions, and seasonings, and so on, and we also came up with the ackee bread pudding."
taste buds aroused
And the ackee bread pudding was what aroused Jessica Henry's taste buds.
"It's very delicious! It's like I'm tasting the real Jamaican ackee in it! Believe me, everyone should try it," she said, smiling.
Yanique Nelson welcomed the event, which, she believes, highlights the creativity of the Home Economics Department, as well as promotes things Jamaican.
"It's a good event for the school to have. Most of the things I have never seen before, like chicken run-down, callaloo cupcake, and ackee juice," she said, eyes popping in disbelief.
Like the delectable delicacies, the snow cone, one of CAL's Manufacturing Limited's products, was a hit among the students.
"I love snow cone!" Andriana Green, a student, toldThe Gleaner, while being served by Melissa Fisher, CAL's promoter, who pointed out that Carlton Wilson, owner of CAL's, is a past student of Bog Walk High School.
Not to be outdone was the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), which also displayed a number of products made from indigenous produce.
"We have liquors, jams, jellies, sauces, jerk seasoning, chutneys, things that can be made from mangoes, and a variety of fruits. "There is stewed jumbilin and Solomon Gundy. Many students know red herring, but they don't know that it can be further processed," explained Latoya Green-Williams, social services home economics officer, RADA, St Catherine.
She said more Jamaicans should make the effort to use agro-processing methods.
"Our people need to get more handy with agro-processing methods that can further prolong the lifespan of food and fruits so that when they are out of season, they still have them available for their own use," Green-Williams said.
Meanwhile, Cardia Duhaney, acting JAS St Catherine parish manager, was pleased with the staging of the Eat Jamaican Day Expo in which Trade Winds Citrus Ltd also participated.
"We are taking a new thrust this year to introduce the Eat Jamaican campaign to the children, so we start out with the school expo to let them know about some of our indigenous products and by-products they can get.
"We also encourage them to use what is there in the backyard gardens and help their parents and themselves as we go through these economic challenges. I think most of the students got this message, and I'm happy about the event," Duhaney toldThe Gleaner.