Throwback Thursday: A Belated Guyanese Christmas Brunch

tbt01I’m going to be a bit silly and throwback to only three weeks ago for this edition of TBT. Leading up to Christmas I noticed that a particular post I had written back in April was getting a lot of traffic. I had discussed the foods my family eats on Christmas Day, so it inspired me to document the event and share it with all of you. However, to add a touch of retro to this post, enjoy this picture of my sister and I on Christmas morning, circa 1988.

As some of you may recall, 2013 saw me participating in Canada’s inaugural Live Below the Line, organized by the Global Poverty Project. Leading up to the kick-off of living off $1.75 a day, I prepared my dishes and had a mishap with the garlic I used in one of my dishes. Long story short, that garlic reminded me of a similar mishap my sister, Cathy, had while preparing a traditional Guyanese dish, and led me to write this post about my grandmother and her amazing Garlic Pork.

Garlic Pork is a Christmas staple in my family, along with an Amerindian dish called Pepper Pot. When I wrote that post I mentioned above, I did it to honour not only my grandmother and our culture, but also to atone for the jibs I’d been giving my sister for years. So you can imagine my amazement when, eight months after it was originally written, I started to notice the blog hits it was generating.

I attributed this surge in reads to the then upcoming holiday season — I figured people were probably just looking into Garlic Pork recipes to make for their own families, and were somehow coming across my blog in the process.

The beauty of WordPress and its site stats, though, is that you can see what people are inputting into Google that lead them to your blog. I one day noticed that someone had actually Googled “Guyanese Garlic Pork”, so I felt compelled to do the same and figure out how in the hell they were finding little ol’ me.

Well, needless to say I was shocked by the search results:

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I remember exactly where I was when I saw this, and I also remember the wave of emotions that hit me all at once: disbelief, sheer joy, and pride. My post about my grandmother and our traditions was on the first page of Google search results. The happy tears flowed that night.

Growing up, my family would do everything on Christmas Day — we’d go to Granny’s for our Guyanese breakfast, relax for a bit, perhaps open some presents, return to our homes (possibly for a nap and play time with our new toys), then go back to Gran’s for a traditional North American Christmas dinner. As my family grew up and Granny passed away, we slowly transitioned to having just dinner on Christmas Day and delaying the Guyanese breakfast for the following Sunday (and turning it into a brunch).

In retrospect, I don’t know why we didn’t do this before; that’s a lot of work for a big family. However, I have a sneaking suspicion it was because of my grandmother — she was traditional to the core and stubborn as a mule, so she probably was steadfast in her determination to have our Garlic Pork and Pepper Pot on Christmas Day. Bless that little woman.

This year was supposed to keep with the routine of having brunch on the Sunday, however Toronto was hit with an icemageddon just a few days before Christmas. The state of affairs in the city was so dire that people went without power for almost a week, all of the road salt in the Greater Toronto Area was sold out, there wasn’t a single street in the entire region that didn’t have some sort of fallen tree on it, and you could have probably strapped on a pair of ice skates and glided to work if you really wanted to. It was bad. It was so bad that Christmas was cancelled for some.

We were lucky enough to have been spared from having to forfeit the holiday, but it was pretty damn close. My family only decided last minute to proceed with Christmas dinner, and only because one of my auntie’s got her power back. Some of my family didn’t get their power back for days afterwards.

Because of this, we had an unconventionally belated Guyanese Christmas brunch…in January. We’ll be damned to miss out on some delicious Garlic Pork and Pepper Pot. I guess Gran’s stubbornness has been inherited by the lot of us. Actually, I’m being silly — I KNOW it has.

So without further ado, here are some pictures of my family enjoying our traditional Christmas breakfast. We also had the pleasure of hosting some family friends from Barbados. Everyone was happy, I was bartender (mimosas which led to rum when the appropriate hour hit), and the food was incredible. I think this should be a monthly event. Why wait a year to enjoy food this good?

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Playing camera shy, or just really focussed on the food.

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I can tell by the angle of those hairy arms that my cousin Sean intentionally leaned his chair back to get his face out of the picture. Jerk.

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I accidentally caught Uncle Brian mid-sentence. He’s the token Irishman in the family (we found him one day and decided to adopt him), and the “Gift of Gab” was not lost on this one 😉

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The coveted Garlic Pork, made by Auntie Mariese.

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Amerinidan Pepper Pot, made by me mudda. It’s sort of hard to tell from the picture, but it’s similar to a beef stew.

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