Day 10: Happy Guyanese Pepperpot!

Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory. Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.  Growing up in a Guyanese household always meant waking up to the steady hissing of the pressure cooker and the heavenly scents of stewed meat, sweet cinnamon, cloves and savory cassareep on Christmas morning – the mouth watering, rich gravy of traditional Guyanese Pepperpot that had been reheated many times over in that large pot over a period of days. As a first generation Canadian-born Guyanese, I knew that the smell of Pepperpot at any time besides Christmas and New Year’s Day (or as my folks would say, “Old Year’s Night”), meant that some kind of special occasion was in the air. Hmmm…Guyanese Pepperpot and a fistful of homemade Guyanese-style bread to mop up all that lovely dark gravy of flavors…Just the thought of it is tempting me to pick up my cell and ask my Dad to make some. Pepperpot, the national dish of Guyana, is an Amerindian meat stew which uses cassareep, a preservative made from grated cassava that has the appearance of molasses. I remember the countless numbers of bottles of cassareep that had traveled back to Canada, either in my Granny’s suitcase or gifted from a relative who had recently “gone home” and brought some back. When my parents emigrated to Canada, they not only brought traditional cultural food influences along with them but also all the vivid memories of their own childhood. Around the Christmas breakfast table, they would reminisce about the sweet memories of when life was very hard but much sweeter and simpler than it was here. A time when a Guyanese Christmas meant weeks and days filled with doing all-things-for-Christmas as a family, from the preparation of the pepperpot, garlic pork, sorel and black cake, to the thorough cleaning and repairing of items around the house as if the Queen was visiting, to the sewing of new curtains to drape the windows. As a child, I loved to hear the stories of how my parents, as children, would wake up on Christmas morning to the smells of Pepperpot and fresh bread baking, their homes looking sparkly brand new because their own parents had stayed up late making sure that everything was just right. So whenever I smell the hints of Pepperpot when I am over for Christmas or at any time of the year for that matter, I realize just how successful my folks were at creating such amazing Christmas memories for my siblings and me in our Canadian “home”. ©2015 Marquessa Matthews Note to the reader: I think that this is my shortest post yet. But I don’t mind – my goal is to keep up with these Writing101 assignments and to post on the day following the assignment. So far, so good. Now, back to Guyanese Pepperpot – I found this little clip on Of course, I have no rights to the following link or to the photos – I am simply posting it for anyone interested in the dish: pepperpot_loretta_rights


9 thoughts on “Day 10: Happy Guyanese Pepperpot!

  1. Pingback: Sometimes you have to know when to give up and call it a day | Simply Marquessa

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