xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Trinidad Vacation 2012 - Fun & Food under the sun

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trinidad Vacation 2012 - Fun & Food under the sun

The kids were off from school eager for excitement and adventure, the husband complained that he was stressed (the mother’s needs are insignificant) and so I booked a last minute flight. As luck would have it, winter break coincided with Carnival in Trinidad. I hadn’t been to Carnival in 20 years and my kids never experienced it, so we were all ecstatic to “go home”. When a Trini mentions that they are “going home”, more than likely they are referring to their homeland Trinidad.  

The ultimate goal of a trip home is always to enjoy the natural beauty and simplicity of the island and bask in the warm, sunny weather.

I find joy in watching clothes dance in the wind under the scorching Caribbean sun…..and when it decided to rain for a few minutes and sometimes seconds, I immersed myself in the soothing sound of the rain as it pounded the galvanized roof. A sound that brings back memories of my childhood and reminds me of simpler, carefree days without the burden of responsibility.

What makes me most happy is spending hours exploring neighbors’ yard, marveling at the beauty of the pretty flowers and trying to capture their magnificence in photos.

I even had time to chase this little guy for an hour trying to get him to smile…nowadays, I am back to just chasing the bus, train and of course my munsters….


This vacation involved no high-falutin experiences, no 5-star hotel or restaurants, no lounging poolside, no margaritas in fancy glasses, no formal wear for dinner. [However, I was happy for the hot water and relieved to find an AC in our bedroom. A luxury we’ve had to live without on many a visits.]

Even better than any 5 star experience were the three daily-hot-delicious home-cooked meals made and served with love. For snack time, we hunted down fruits that are not available in the US and enjoyed them avariciously.

Much to the dismay of my husband’s family, I hopped in a taxi and ventured to the market all by my lonesome in search of hard to find goodies to bring back and captivating conversations with market vendors.

I was also on a mission to find the Trinidad Moruga pepper, recently titled the hottest pepper in the world. 

 We ate “chow” at every opportunity. This is the chow before I laced it with the Moruga pepper. More on “chow” in my next post.

My in-laws begged me to cook and I concurred. After the third time I protested –with a smile- and reminded them I was on vacation. [The disadvantage of having a food blog. :-) ]

Pancakes with home-made watermelon syrup--which turned into jam as it cooled...I tried! I turned to watermelon since my kids requested strawberry syrup and there were no strawberries available....!

Pepper shrimps etc..

Apple cake...

And here are the most important men (vendors) on the island....they truly leave you wanting more....

Being a Trini also means having the ability to set up a “kitchen” anywhere using a ground stove or a fireside. An ability embedded deep within our DNA. Who needs the confines of a traditional kitchen? Every occasion special or not so special revolves around the meal being cooked. Food comforts our Trini soul and keeps us well grounded and attached to our roots. Food is a beloved connection to our past and brings back memories of happier days.

Trinis are a fun-loving, free spirited people who don’t need much to have a good time. Crix and hot-sauce laced cheese or a bowl of chow for an appetizer. Something being curried in a ground stove somewhere in the vicinity--probably loaded with pepper also. A bottle of rum. Fresh coconut water to “chase” with. Music blasting from speakers attached to a car—somehow.

Loud, heated conversations. Laughing. Dancing aka palancing….Well…up until someone gets too drunk and a fight ensues. Then pure bacchanal. [In defense of my people…NOT ALWAYS…but it has been known to happen.]


Let’s not forget the all important, rum, the quarterback, which also acts as the catalyst to these endearing experiences. We have a saying in Trinidad, “rum done, friend done”, the same rings true for “de food done, de lime done”. For me at least. Who wants to linger after the food is gone? Not I! And you thought I came for the riveting conversation?….[laughing]

We went to the capital Port of Spain to experience firsthand the spirit of carnival and see the parade of the bands…we watched people “chip down de road” and dance to the rhythm of the reverberating steelpan or calypso music.

...and congrats to our friend Brian MacFarlane for a magnificent Mac Mas Monday presentation and for winning Band of the Year, six consecutive years...

After all that excitement, we enjoyed the usual relaxing afternoon on Maracas beach, after feasting on a delicious shark and bake sandwich.

...and these are some of the reasons I love being a Trini. The simple experiences in life that bring me great joy and contentment.

Hope you enjoyed my pics. Please “like” my facebook page (Cooking with Ria) to see more of my photography which I plan to upload in the coming weeks….and please tell your friends about Cookingwithria.com! A blog about my life, food and photography.

With love,


saradipity said...

That's why you went MIA:) Thank you for sharing Ria,I tremendously enjoy reading your blog and watching the beautiful picture you post. Well Done!!! btw, yuh sharing yuh Moruga Peppers?

Rye said...

Nice story!

Cooking with Ria said...

Hi, yes it was, lol...You are most welcome! I am always happy to hear you enjoy my posts and especially pictures! I was lucky enough to get the last bag of peppers at the market, unfortunately the few I have left are frozen and won't hold up well enough when defrosted to travel long distances ;-)...I shall enjoy them for u...lol.

Cooking with Ria said...

Thank you, Rye.

Anonymous said...


Amazing pics and an amazing commentary written with a true trini soul, heart and mind. Thanks for sharing xoxoxoxox

Cooking with Ria said...

Thank you, cuz...! I am glad you enjoyed it! xoxoxooxoxoxo

Anisa said...

Really enjoyed reading this, I love the memories also and the rain pounding on the galvanise i can relate. My family and I moved backed to Trinidad 2 years ago from NY and we are still enjoying this country. Can't beat eating a doubles on the spot and taking a drive to Maracas just for a bake and shark. I love my Trinidad. Keep sharing your recipes.

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