Can Cook, Must Cook

The food adventures of Franka P, a Trinidadian journalist living in London, UK. I'll write about my forays into all types of food and cooking, particularly Caribbean food. I'll also review books and recipes by the leading food writers and talk about the issues making headlines in the gastronomic world.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A tale of Dodgy Doubles

Carnival is the highlight of the year for most Trinidadians, especially for those across the diaspora who make the annual trek to wine and jam.
In the seven years I've been living in the UK I've only been back for Carnival twice. And to think that before that, I'd have opted for water torture rather than miss a Carnival! Me, a Carnival baby miss the festival? No way!
But the old folks have a saying, 'after one time, is two time'.
This year, some of us Trinis in London decided to pay homage to that staple of Trinidad Carnival - the All Inclusive Fete.

For those who don't know, an All Inclusive Fete is a party where you pay a hefty sum to eat and drink all you can. This year, the more popular All Inclusives in Trinidad cost anywhere from TT$400 (£40) to $TT1,000 (£100).

Apparently in the really exclusive parties, there's gourmet food and the bars serve Johnny Walker Blue, a blended whisky that Trinis think is really posh.
Anyway, our version of the All Inclusive was called the Carnival Saddos Pretend All Inclusive Fete. The name says it all eh?
We didn't have Johnny Walker Blue, but we had Fernandes Black Label Rum and a mock Malibu called Cubanabay. And since we couldn't exactly afford a gourmet chef like Gordon Ramsay, I did the cooking!
What did I cook you ask? The staples of Trini food - Pelau, Roast Bake and

The pelau and the bake were amazing, but the doubles were a bit dodgy!
I tried the doubles recipe from the oft quoted Trini cookbook, the Naparima Girls Cookbook and it simply didn't work. And I tried to be as authentic as possible, I had small squares of wax paper to wrap the doubles like they do back home! It wasn't that they were inedible - my friends ate every last one - but the bara didn't have the melt in your mouth quality like the doubles you could get in an all inclusive fete in Trinidad. I guess that's why our party was a 'Pretend All Inclusive'.
We intend to make the Pretend All Inclusive an annual event, which means I have a year to learn to make proper doubles. But I mightn't need to, after all, next year I could be wining in Trini Carnival!

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