Today’s article is doing double duty. I will take you back down memory lane through some old content. In doing so, I hope not only to introduce new readers to this blog, but to reignite that passion I once had about writing about Haiti’s cuisine as well.
See, lately, loving Haiti has been…difficult, if not borderline impossible. We’ve been having a love and hate relationship, Haiti and I. And, as much as I tried these past few months to get myself to write positively about it, I simply couldn’t. My soul is too tired and hurt for that.
However, when I launched this blog in 2014, I did give myself a mission to showcase Haiti under a more positive light through its cuisine. And I must hold myself accountable to that.
I need Haiti just as much as Haiti needs me, after all.
Had I not been born and raised here, this blog never would have seen the light of day. That’s what reading some of the very first articles I published reminded me of. I may not be proud of the featured image on some of my old entries – my photography got so much better through the years – but I am damn proud of what those words reveal about my life here. I did have a beautiful childhood.
Articles like that one about my mountain escapades with family, or my adventures on what used to be ‘my’ mountaintop remind me that Haiti did not completely do me wrong after all. Had I grown up somewhere else, I never would’ve enjoyed the fruits of our abundant backyard. I wouldn’t have learned how to crack zanmann or to drive adults nuts hand-picking cherries from fire ant crowded branches either. I wouldn’t be able to speak fondly of gou lari a, that street flavor caught in the Kafou tifou fried shrimp, and those salty papita plastic bags I licked as a child.
Had it not been for our gorgeous beaches, I wouldn’t have those vibrant and happy memories of devouring grilled conch or slurping fresh oysters under the Caribbean sun. I wouldn’t be longing for that gooey bite of tablèt pistach after a weekend seaside. Speaking of the beach… I haven’t basked under the sun on one of our beaches since 2018…
But wait, I digress, this article is about positivity…
How can I not love this place that inspired my writing and gave me beautiful culinary anecdotes and family memories to last a lifetime. Had it not given us those spicy piman bouc, I never would’ve been able to poke fun at that red-faced guy or write about my family’s squabbles over accras, or that mischievous cousin and his love of graten.
So many wonderful stories and recipes came out of my childhood and life here in Haiti: that yuca adventure; that potpourri citrus pie; those plantain tortillas or crispy veritab taco shells. Hell, I probably never would’ve eaten wheat a day in my life again had this blog not inspired my red bulgur salad.
Let’s not forget my new found passion for food photography.
Had Haiti not inspired this blog, I probably wouldn’t have fallen in love with this art. Yes, I have always been fond of cooking and food styling, but, without Tchakayiti and my longing to talk about our cuisine, I wouldn’t have acquired the necessary skills to share those appetizing shots with the world.
And these, dear readers, are a few of the reasons I chose to be thankful for this country that has been giving me a hard time these past few years.
For these stories, and the ones I have yet to tell, I say : thank you, Haiti Cherie…
And with that said, I will go back to reading a few more entries to boost my morale. I hope you too shall find solace in them.