Thursday, April 22, 2010

holy matrimony

Its hard for me to believe but, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this week. And what a year it has been! I wanted to celebrate with a homemade dinner reminiscent of our fabulous Jamaican honeymoon: juicy roasted jerk chicken with ubiquitous rice and peas (Jamaica's version of beans 'n rice). Simple enough, right?

I sought out traditional Jamaican recipes.
I researched exotic ingredients and cooking methods.
I spent 2 days prepping-- chopping, grinding, marinating, soaking.
I followed the directions to a T.
And the resulting meal was AWFUL.

Looking back, I was naive to think that I could recreate the flavor of chicken that has been cooked in a specialized jerk pit and smoked to perfection by pimento wood, in my crappy electric stove. Its just not the same. There was something off about my jerk paste as well-- I suspect too much allspice, and no garlic or ginger (neither were in the recipe I used but, seemed to pop up in other jerk recipes I saw). As for the rice, I have no idea what the hell happened. The beans were under-cooked, the rice was over-cooked and the spice level rendered any salvageable morsels completely inedible. I pride myself on being a decent cook and this flavor fail was a major source of shame to me.

My saving grace was a simple fruit salad I found in my search for Jamaican recipes, called matrimony. (I mean, what better dessert could there be to celebrate the anniversary of our marriage than a dish called matrimony?) Traditionally this is made with oranges and star apple - a fruit native to Jamaica and next to impossible to find this far north - so this recipe substitutes a combo of pear and apple. The fruit is simply dressed and seasoned with just a pinch of nutmeg-- a light, lovely post-dinner treat. Or, in our case, dinner.


{recipe from Sky Juice and Flying Fish: Traditional Caribbean Cooking}

Serves: 6

  • 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored & diced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored & diced
  • 2 oranges, supremed
  • 1/4 cup condensed milk
  • grated nutmeg, to taste
  • (I also added a pinch of cinnamon, too)
1. Place the diced pear and apple in a medium bowl, add orange sections and mix. Sweeten with condensed milk and nutmeg, and toss to combine.

2. Let chill for at least one hour before serving. Serve chilled.

Thankfully, our meal turn-out was not reflective of our marriage and we were able to laugh off my disastrous attempt at authentic Jamaican cooking. Looks like we have yet another good reason to go back. x 


  1. I hate it so much when I cook something that turns out to be an epic fail. But the fruit looks DELISH! (and the photography!)

    Happy Anniversary!

  2. thanks T!

    oh man, you should have seen me. $45 in groceries & 2 days of prep for nothing. I was beyond pissed. and I totally cried. *hangs head in shame*

  3. I've had similarly epic (and expensive) failures trying to recreate Caribbean food in my kitchen. You are not alone.

    But happy anniversary! And the fruit does look really yummy.

  4. thanks Jaime! I'm glad I'm not the only one!

    I'm going to attempt Caribbean cookery again because I freaking love it, I'll just be sure to pick something that will actually *work* in my kitchen :)