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Friday, April 19, 2013

Eating Oxtails in the Rain

Oxtails, from the Solid Gold roach coach.

“What’s that?” my longtime best friend Anna asked about the unidentified object in her soup.

“A heart,” Dad answered.

Dad’s home-made soups were hearty and flavorful, due in part to his unwillingness to waste flavorful pieces and parts – necks, backs, livers, hearts and more.  Anna, fortunately, is one of my few friends who I knew would not be horrified.  After all, I loved her familily’s menudo – tripe (stomach) soup.  “It’s good,” Anna murmured, taking another spoonful.

Wayne, my wonderful husband, while game and getting better all the time, is far less adventurous about what he eats.

That’s why I love “roach coaches.”  Only here in the Caribbean, they don’t come to to you, you go to them.  They serve up hefty portions of artery-hardeneing rib-sticking, tounge-smacking hands-on “I need two napkins” stuff I’d never have know-how, ingredients, or time to slow-cook up on the boat.  And like many of Dad’s mysterious meals, you never know what you’ll find.
Solid Gold is the roach coach just outside
St. Thomas’ main Post Office.

Since starting off in St. Lucia, here’s a few local Caribbean delights I’ve sampled and enjoyed
  • Salt fish
  • Chicken roti (curried with lots of little neck bones)
  • Pepper pot
  • Corned pork
  • Stewed chicken
  • Dukana (sweet potato, coconut and sugar)
  • Cow heel soup
  • Oxtails


See the wheels on Solid Gold?  This is one roach coach
that’s not going anywhere!
I admit, when ordering today’s Oxtail, it’s ‘cause I chickened out on the alternatives.  They were fried fish (not much for fried food) and boiled fish. “It’s a fish head, you know,” cautioned the server, prompting me to shift over to the oxtail, a dish I’d been try for a while.  I just wasn’t ready to have a fish eye staring back up at me.  Plus, even the small servings are so generous, I planned on bringing some back to Wayne, who sure as hell would be completely grossed out by a fish head.

When I was a kid, my Gram used to chuckle when asked what chicken part was her favorite to eat.  “I like the part the crosses the fence last.”  Gram, too proper to call it by name, loved chicken butt, a greasy-fatty little bit. 

As I sat sucking my oxtails off the bone and slurping “provisions” (dirty rice, baked sweet potato, and veg) in the misty rain outside Kmart, I thought, Gram and Dad would be proud.