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Category Archives: Caribbean

Caribbean Currents: Beware of scams targeting unsuspecting new immigrants – The Philadelphia Tribune

Posted: July 29, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Welcome to America, the Land of Opportunity, where the streets are paved with gold. At least that is what we think when we hear about this place. Many immigrants who come to this country, come here with the impression that they will be able to be successful. They have a dream of uplifting themselves and their family. They dream of owning a home, a car and having a good job. But unfortunately, it does not always work out that way. The fact of the matter is the reality is far different! Some people end up jobless, homeless, living with family members just to make ends meet until they can find a job, any job.

Because of financial instability and uncertainty, immigrants are prime targets; they can fall for a scam in the blink of an eye. Many have learned the hard way, after losing their savings when they decided to capitalize on what was presented to them as a great money-making opportunity. The most vulnerable in our society are obviously our elderly but young people get scammed, too.

One day one of my nephews, who had been here for about six months, came to me and asked, can you give me your opinion on something? This guy that I know said that he has a check for $2,000 and he doesnt have a bank account but if I cash it for him, I can keep $500. I was thinking about doing it for him because I really could use that $500. What do you think?

As I listen to him, I immediately realized that this guy was up to no good and my nephew was about to fall for it. All he could think about is the $500 he would get for doing this guy a favor. I explained that the check was fake and would not clear and he would be out of $1,500.

As a new citizen, you may be unaware of the dangers that a person who makes hasty uninformed decisions can be exposed to. For instance, you get an offer from a financial company for a pre-approved loan: use it for mortgage, use it for a new or used car they say, and of course it is even harder to resist this temptation when the offer is possibly your first pre-approved credit card.

Wow! I know a lot of us from the Caribbean, would have a hard time resisting their first Visa or MasterCard. Many of the younger people would give very little thought to the fact that the interest rate is extremely high. These kind of offers did not come their way back in their country.

Companies today are very creative with their offerings. They recognize that attractive packaging sent to unsuspecting persons are more likely to get a positive response. Consumer reports have stated that many who have accepted these offerings have found themselves trapped in bad debt for many years. Why? Because in addition to the high interest rate, the terms of the loan may make it impossible for the borrower to pay them off. Today there are hundreds of telemarketing companies that target new Americans on a daily basis.

How about solicitation via the internet or social media? Seniors fall in this trap because they dont fully understand how the technology works. The companies doing the hacking and posing as Microsoft are based overseas.

With modern technology, even when the phone rings and the number on the caller ID is disguised to make it seem local, it could very well be an overseas call. Recent reports have warned that if your phone rings and someone says can you hear me? you should not answer yes because they will record your voice and use it to say that you agreed to buying a product that you never ordered.

A new Caribbean American citizen could be deceived by the offering of a fantastic prize. This prize may vary; a free airline ticket, a free hotel stay, a free cruise, a new car or a large sum of money but there is always some type of small fee associated with collecting the prize. Some companies will send actual checks in the mail that are already made out to you. The only requirement is to sign on the dotted line and you are caught up in a hellish whirlpool that you cant swim your way out of.

Buyer beware is a warning that most consumers are familiar with. A popular quote back in the Caribbean is not everything that glitters is gold. If you fell for one of the above scenarios you can contact the Better Business Bureau or consider filing a complaint with the consumer protection agency. If your credit got messed up because of a scam, another option is to join a credit union. They have programs set up help people to rebuild their credit. We all know that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

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Caribbean Currents: Beware of scams targeting unsuspecting new immigrants - The Philadelphia Tribune

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2017 Caribbean Heritage Festival And Parade: A Showcase Of Diversity And Talent – TAPinto.net

Posted: at 7:31 pm

ORANGE, NJ - Mayor Dwayne D. Warren, Esq. and the City of Orange Township Municipal Council will host the 18th Anniversary of the Caribbean Heritage Day Festival in Monte Irvin Orange Park, on Saturday August 5, 2017.

The Festival is a tradition dating back to the Oranges in the 1970s. Today, it is the premiere Caribbean Festival in Essex County, with thousands of people from numerous countries participating every year.The Caribbean Heritage Day Festival creates an environment where people can participate in the creativity of different cultures while celebrating their similarities and diversities, which emulate the history of Carnival and demonstrate the strength of the Caribbean American community in New Jersey.

This years' festivities include the Caribbean Heritage Parade at 10 am at the corner of Scotland Road and Central Avenue and winds its way down Central Avenue into Monte Irvin - Orange Park.

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Scheduled to perform at this years' Caribbean Festival include Adrian Dutchen, Shelley G., the Fanoko Cultural Singers, Harmony Music Steel Pan Band, Young Soca Sensation - The Big Show and International Monarch King - Rikki Jai.

There will be carnival rides and games for the whole family. Attendees are invited to join the Powder Tee Shirt section to be part of the action and celebrate the culture.

The Mayor's VIP Tent sponsors for food and beverage donations include: Golden Krust, El Salvador Restaurant, Toast of the Town, and other home cooks and caterers.

"The Festival showcases the energy and diversity of our Caribbean community in Orange and Essex County," said Mayor Warren. "Every year, we look forward to the music, the live acts and the fantastic crowds representing all of the island nations. The festival not only showcases the best of our Caribbean and West-Indian communities, but reminds us because of our immigrant communities that our City thrives."

The Mayor added, "I'd like to thank Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and Freeholder President Britnee N. Timberlake for their continued support in making our Caribbean Heritage Day Festival a success."

Vendor applications are being accepted at City Hall, 29 North Day Street in Orange.

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2017 Caribbean Heritage Festival And Parade: A Showcase Of Diversity And Talent - TAPinto.net

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Island Love: Caribbean Festival, Lawn Party In Hartford – Hartford … – Hartford Courant

Posted: July 28, 2017 at 7:36 pm

A bit of island spirit breezes through Hartford the first week of August with two separate events celebrating Caribbean culture, food, live music and dance.

Up first is the Art after Dark Caribbean Lawn Party outside the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on Thursday, Aug. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. To get you dancing will be the De 4 Ahwee & Company Steel Band, and there will be complimentary food, art activities and museum tours. Tickets are are $10, $5 for members. A screening of the film "Hidden Figures" follows in the Aetna Theater. thewadsworth.org

Next, on Saturday, Aug. 5, the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza will be filled with island rhythms and the smells of favorite Caribbean dishes such as jerk chicken, curry goat and empanadas from 1 to 9 p.m. for the free Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival. Entertainment includes musicians from as far away as Jamaica and Barbados, and the plaza will burst with different colorful costumes during the Carnival Parade and various dance performances. For the kids, there will be activities such as open mic competitions, jewelry making, folk dancing, and face painting. riverfront.org.

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Island Love: Caribbean Festival, Lawn Party In Hartford - Hartford ... - Hartford Courant

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Caribbean Cookbook Brings Tropical Flavors to American Tables – WUNC

Posted: at 7:36 pm

Cover of Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum.

Credit Brigid Washington / Skyhorse Publishing 2017

Brigid Washington grew up with the Caribbean flavors of her family's native Trinidad. Ginger, coconut, fresh seafood and other ingredients shaped her palate and her experiences in the kitchen.

But food was not an important part of her adult life until, as a dissatisfied writer living in Raleigh, she felt compelled to walk into the kitchen of Bloomsbury Bistro and ask the chef to teach her the culinary arts. That brazen request led to culinary school and a cookbook. Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum.: Caribbean Flavors for Every Season (Skyhorse Publishing/2017) highlights the mainstay flavors of the islands with American fusion twists.

Brigid Washington

Credit Brigid Washington

Host Anita Rao talks with Brigid Washington about the food she grew up with and how she brought it out of her memory and into North Carolina kitchens.

Guest Host Anita Rao talks with cookbook author Brigid Washington.

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IAEA Participates in Ninth General Meeting of the Caribbean Community and Associated Institutions and the United … – International Atomic Energy…

Posted: at 7:36 pm

The IAEA has participated in the Ninth Caribbean Community United Nations General Meeting on 20-21 July 2017, in New York, USA.

The meeting, which takes place every two years, is held to discuss how the United Nations and its associated organizations can better support the strategic goals of the Caribbean region. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the UN have worked closely in pursuit of General Assembly Resolution 69/265 that articulates a goal for the organizations Secretaries General to continue to promote and expand cooperation with their respective mandates, so as to increase the capacity of the two organisations to attain their objectives and to seek answers to global challenges.[1]

Antnio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, attended, together with high-level UN representatives. The meeting included a number of working sessions co-chaired by Assistant Secretary-General Ambassador Granderson and the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr Tay-Brook Zerihoun. Sessions also included a follow-up to the Eighth General Meeting which took place in Guyana in 2015, in which the IAEA also participated, as well as several sub-sessions on specific areas in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Catch a singles cruise on a windjammer to the Caribbean and other destinations – Los Angeles Times

Posted: at 7:36 pm

Make a date with SinglesCruise.com this fall or winter for a cruise that doesn't require you to bring along friends to have a good time.

Among the upcoming offerings is a six-night Caribbean voyage aboard a windjammer, an eight-night Halloween cruise, and trips to Cuba, the Baltic and the Panama Canal.

Cruises generally include lodging, meals, onboard entertainment, roommate matching, special events such as cocktail parties, dance lessons, speed meeting, karaoke parties and single-mingle dining.

The Windjammer Mandalay cruise, Sept. 17-23, will set sail from St. Lucia, visiting several Caribbean ports. Possible calls will be at St. Vincent, Tobago Cays and Union Island, both in St. Vincent, and Carriacou in the Grenadine Islands chain.

Built in 1923, the Mandalay is a three-masted tall ship with teak decks and original woodwork. It accommodates 58 passengers and about 24 crew members.

Rates start at $1,748 per person, double occupancy.

Other upcoming cruises include an eight-night Halloween voyage, departing Oct. 28 on the Carnival Conquest. The ship will sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting St. Martin, St. Kitts and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Fares from $877 per person, double occupancy.

Cruise through the Panama Canal on the Carnival Miracle on an April 14, 2018, voyage departing Tampa., Fla. Rates from $1,230 per person, double occupancy.

Head to the Baltic on June 9, 2018, for a 12-night cruise on Royal Caribbeans Brilliance of the Seas. The trip will depart Amsterdam, Netherlands, and visit Skagen, Demark; Talinn, Estonia; and St. Petersburg, Russia. Fares start at $1,689 per person, double occupancy.

Also on the schedule is a five-night cruise to Key West, Fla., and Havana, planned for July 23, 2018. Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas will sail out of Tampa. Rates start at $1,110, per person, double occupancy.

Other singles cruises and land-based trips are available.

Info: Singlescruise.com, (800) 393-5000

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travel@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimestravel

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Catch a singles cruise on a windjammer to the Caribbean and other destinations - Los Angeles Times

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64 years later, Castros’ Cuba still projects power in Caribbean | TheHill – The Hill (blog)

Posted: at 7:36 pm

Fidel Castro and a ragtag group of about 150 rebels launched the Cuban Revolution on July 26,1953. Their poorly-planned attack on an army barracks in the southeastern city of Santiago was quickly and roundly defeated. Within an hour, Fidel, his brother Raul and a handful of rebels fled to the nearby countryside, only to soon be captured and sentenced to prison.

But fortune favored the Castro brothers, and they were released along with other political prisoners two years later. Their next attempt to overthrow the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship also began disastrously in 1956, but their rebellion took hold, and they entered Havana triumphantly in January of 1959.

Sixty-four years later, the Cuban Revolution is still sowing mischief, and the erratic U.S. policy toward the island, centered around a decades-old trade embargo, has done little to prevent the Castro regimes nefarious influence beyond its borders.

The embargos objective was to contain the Castro government and achieve regime change. Despite what my fellow Cuban-American friends in the Senate and House might contend, the embargo has failed miserably to achieve its mission. But, for that matter, so has the policy of engagement and trade with Cuba from other first-world countries.

The regime is as strong as it has ever been, still controlling the island on all levels, continuing to repress the Cuban people and violating many articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Cuban-American conservatives are right, though, when they argue that President Obamas historic move to reopen relations with Cuba without demanding any significant concessions has been everything but a success. It looked fine on paper because nothing the U.S. had tried had managed to put a dent in the communist governments policies.

Also, Latin America was still in the midst of the pink tide, where most countries in the region had elected left-leaning governments (a trend thats been reversed) and a rapprochement with Cuba was seen as helping American relations in the hemisphere.

What seemed fine in theory has not worked in practice, mainly because it threw a lifeline to the communists stimulating the economy at a time when the regime desperately needed help. In fact, its fair to argue that the Cubans decided to reopen relations precisely because they knew the island faced its most dire economic challenge since the end of the Cold War.

Back then, in 1989, the Soviet Union had begun to fall apart. The enormous subsidies it had provided Cuba since the early 1960s disappeared, triggering a severe depression, euphemistically referred to as the Special Period. In one year, Cubas GDP plunged by more than the U.S. GDP dropped during the first four years of the Great Depression. Famine ensued and so did epidemics fueled by malnutrition.

The Cuban economy wouldnt begin to significantly recover for a decade. It was still struggling when, in 2002, a coup in Venezuela briefly deposed the then-president, Hugo Chavez. Soon after an understandably paranoid Chavez regained power, he chose to tighten relations with Cuba and use the G2, the Cuban Intelligence Directorate, to help him strengthen his hold on the government.

In exchange, Chavez began to send tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day to Cuba, far more than the islands energy needs. Cuba would then sell the surplus. With oil prices at all-time highs, the profits made Cubas economy expand.

All was well and good for the masters of Cuba and Venezuela, if not for their people, until Chavezs death in 2013. But, soon after his successor, Nicolas Maduro, took over, oil prices plummeted. The Venezuelan economy, more dependent than ever on oil and weakened by 14 years of extreme corruption, mismanagement of the oil industry and socialist policies went into a tailspin.

Seeing the largesse from Venezuela diminishing and, at times, disappearing, Cuba needed another source of hard currency. Thats when President Obamas thaw in relations came to the rescue and filled the void. As a result, instead of facing another huge economic crisis, Cubas GDP soared in 2015, the year that followed the crash in oil prices and the announcement of improved relations (GDP shrunk slightly in 2016 as Venezuelan aid declined and American tourism increases slowed).

Looked at superficially, that wouldnt seem to be a problem. Some of the economic growth in Cuba generated by the U.S. was trickling down to its impoverished people, while business opportunities related to Cuba were increasing on our side of the Florida Straits. However, the Cuban regime, bound by no promises to the U.S., continued its human rights abuses. Also, the greater flow of tourist dollars to the island strengthened the Cuban military, which controls most of the Cuban economy.

Worse yet, it has allowed the Cuban regime to continue exporting its repressive ways to Venezuela, the country with the worlds largest oil reserves. The countries now have a symbiotic relationship dedicated to keep both dictatorships in power. The Cubans desperately need Venezuela in their corner, with an estimated 21 percent of the islands GDP involving trade with Caracas.

Maduro, like Chavez before him, depends on thousands of Cuban military and intelligence officials who are in Venezuela to prop up his regime. Many of those Cubans are embedded in the Venezuelan military, working as snitches and hampering chances the armed forces could splinter and support the oppositions efforts to end Maduros dictatorship.

So, 64 years after the Cuban Revolution began with a debacle, the octogenarian Raul Castro effectively controls two countries crucial to American national security, with totalitarian Marxist governments that are tragic anachronisms in the 21stcentury.

Antonio Mora is a former news anchor for Good Morning America and the former anchor of Al Jazeera Americas primetime international news hour. He is a Cuban American who has reported on various occasions from Cuba. He also holds American and Venezuelan law degrees.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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When A Rainbow Flag Becomes A Threat To An Entire Caribbean Country – Huffington Post Canada

Posted: at 7:36 pm

When I got the messages that "gay pride flags" were mounted on light posts across the city of my birthplace for Carnival, I became so excited. And though they weren't really rainbow flags (more like a patchwork of colours that are also in the rainbow), I immediately took my sarcasm to Facebook to celebrate while thanking the decorators for seeing my vision for a "Pride Antigua."

My excitement was short-lived as not only did the situation escalate to folks calling for prayers for the country as a gay agenda was being pushed, but it lead to the Minister of Culture responsible for the festival making the decision to take down the multi-coloured flags.

Yes, you heard me right! The flags were taken down because of the outrage that they resemble gay pride flags. Insane, right? Well these are just some of the disgusting and heartbreaking comments that were shared on Facebook and online news platforms by my fellow Antiguans.

I must admit, when I first saw some of the bitter and disgruntled homophobes arguing on social media about the flags, I couldn't do anything else but laugh at their ignorance. I concluded that these folks woke up on the wrong side of the bed or were just tired of using common sense. I forced myself to believe that these human beings just prefer to lead their lives with ignorance and hatred, as sad as that thought is.

But after seeing the hateful comments and thinking about the last conversation I had with a fellow Antiguan lesbian and a young gay man who was assaulted by homophobes there, I broke down in tears. While many see the act as organizers simply listening to the masses, no one has stopped to think how this move might impact the lives of LGBTQ members still living in this homophobic country.

Antigua and Barbuda already has laws that criminalize homosexuality. The country has seen its fair share of queer members being attacked and harassed, most of which aren't reported since the police treats members of the LGBTQ community like any other homophobe. And I know this as I had to leave my family and this same country because of no police protection.

Just recently, "Princess" a trans woman from Antigua who allegedly faced abuse at the hands of police officers in 2015, came to Canada to seek protection. How many more will have to leave before Antiguans and Barbudans recognize that their attitudes only fuel hate and harm towards other human beings who are just trying to be themselves? Citizens aren't even hiding like before. They are boldly showing the world just how homophobic Antigua and Barbuda truly is.

To think the mere sight of a flag that resembles something close to the rainbow symbol used by the LGBTQ community could cause an entire country to feel threatened, is not only pathetic but shows the level of homophobia that queers have to deal with on an island of 280 square kilometres.

If a piece of cloth can have such an impact on one of the leading festivals in the Caribbean, imagine what really happens to actual lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans men and women on the island. And that could be something as difficult as being forced to stay locked away in the closet because of attitudes like this.

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As you read this, there are so many Antiguans living in fear because of the crimes being committed across the country; sick folks are tired of the broken healthcare system; the electorate can't even trust their political leaders and law enforcement officers when some are at the centre of various scandals to include allegations of sexual assault and charges of incest. I could list out a whole book of problems that are plaguing the country as we speak. But somehow, multi-coloured flags that hold no real ties to the LGBTQ community are the biggest threat to this society.

If my wish for a gay pride caused such a panic in this country, then I should begin to speak up more about the shortage of running water and the irregular supply of electricity that residents put up with. That could either lead to better conditions or it could go wrong and result in a ban on Crayola crayons and Fruit Loops. Someone might even try to pull the rainbow down from the sky. I don't know!

But seriously, I look forward to the day when my fellow Antiguans stop getting offended by the wrong things like me calling out homophobia when I see it or a flag with rainbow colours and instead, stand up and speak out against things that do threaten their very survival.

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Caribbean life ‘as we know it’ at serious risk: expert – Reuters

Posted: July 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As if hurricanes were not menacing enough, small Caribbean islands risk losing their entire way of life unless they urgently strengthen defenses against a raft of future disasters, according to a climate change official.

"You don't even need to have a hurricane to get extensive damage .. a tropical storm or depression, it comes and sits over a particular island or territory and it deposits rain," said Ulric Trotz, deputy director at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

"For us small island nations, basically everything comes to a stop. As a region, we are very exposed to climate risk .. and our projections show that this will be exacerbated," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Trotz - whose organization coordinates the entire region's response to climate change - said that along with the annual hurricane season, the Caribbean now faces extreme weather each year, from flooding to landslides.

Fishing and farming communities living in coastal areas and the tourism industry - vital for Caribbean economies - often bear the brunt of damage and loss of income.

Caribbean nations can now face as much rainfall as they would normally get over a period of months in the space of a few days, with drainage systems unable to cope, Trotz said.

"A lot of the damage now comes from extreme precipitation. So that translates into floods, landslides, loss of life, loss of livelihoods," said Trotz, a science advisor.

"We have some serious concerns about the viability of Caribbean life as we know it."

One key way to make coastal areas more resilient to storm surges and rising sea levels, linked to global warming, is to protect marine, coral and mangrove ecosystems, Trotz said.

Reefs act like breakwaters reducing wave strength, while salt-tolerant mangroves can buffer against hurricane winds and storm surges and cut wave height.

"As far as the human body is concerned, the healthier the body is, the more resilient it will be in terms of dealing with some of the threats, diseases," Trotz said.

"So the same principle applies here, that the healthier our ecosystems, the healthier our reefs, wetlands and mangroves are, the more they will be able to resist some of the impacts of climate change," he said.

Across the Caribbean, scores of projects are underway to restore battered coral reefs, establish artificial reefs, replant damaged mangroves and place millions of acres of marine areas under protected areas by 2020.

Some Caribbean nations also face water shortages exacerbated by longer droughts linked to climate change, Trotz said.

In several islands of the Grenadines, a pilot seawater desalination project using solar power is underway.

In Guyana, to better cope with drought and changing rainy seasons, rice farmers are using water harvesting and drip irrigation systems, and are receiving short-term weather forecasts allowing them to better decide when to plant crops.

But more defensive action is hampered by a lack of funds.

Despite the United Nations Green Climate Fund, set up in 2010 to help poor countries tackle climate change, red tape means many small island nations are unable to access funding.

"The bottom line is that we don't have the resources," Trotz said. "It's not that we don't have any idea about how we need to build resilience."

It can take from nine months to up to eight years to get funds from donors, Trotz said.

"The longer you delay, a lot of the assumptions you have made in the first instance are no longer valid .. we have to find some way of shortening that whole process."

Reporting by Anastasia Moloney @anastasiabogota, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival finds its Caribbean rhythm with a cooking class – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Posted: at 4:36 pm

FAIRBANKS The first time Natasha Cummings cooked, she was 11. Left home alone, she cooked a simple curry, using ingredients she could find in her house salt, pepper, curry and rice. When Cummings mother came home, she laughed at the effort. From then on, Cummings mother taught her how to cook properly.

Cummings passed on a bit of that knowledge Friday during her Caribbean Cuisine cooking class in the CTC Kitchen at Hutchison High School as part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Using simple ingredients, Cummings taught the small group how to prepare brown stew chicken, pigeon peas and steamed cabbage.

Like many other first-time instructors, Cummings admitted her nerves at the beginning of the class. Her fears went unfounded as she described her recipes while encouraging hands-on participation.

I want it to be hands-on so when you get home, you know what to do and how its going to look, Cummings said.

Cummings made sure every student helped with at least one aspect of the dishes. Debbie Mathews, owner of Expressions in Glass and an instructor of several classes during the arts festival, helped chop carrots. Her friend Gus Luchini lent a hand. Mathews invited Luchini to the class, which was a way for her to enjoy herself.

I work too much, so this is my way to get out and have fun, Mathews said.

The ingredients used in the recipes are simple and easy to find, even in Fairbanks, quite a distance away from Cummings native St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.Even so, when Cummings goes home, she brings an extra suitcase just for food and spices.

She puts that extra suitcase to good use at her business, Tashas Caribbean Cuisine and Catering. Started in 2008 out of her home as a casual business, its grown into Cabin No. 7 at Pioneer Park, open seven days per week from noon to 8 p.m. Cummings moved into the spot two years ago, but is on the lookout for a small, year-round space where customers can sit down and enjoy her food.

If I could quit my other job, I would, Cummings said. For now, she runs the cabin and caters you can even hire her to teach a private cooking class and dinner at home.

The mother of three came to Brooklyn when she was 15 with her father and siblings. There, she took over as the mom of the house, cooking dinner on Sundays, a big day in Caribbean families homes, and on weekdays after she got home from school.In 2002, Cummings husband a good but messy cooker was stationed at Fort Wainwright, and the familymoved to Fairbanks. Even so far from home, Cummings mother still guides her.

When I dont know something, I always call my mom or mother-in-law, she said. Her mother-in-law is from Trinidad and a great cook as well.

The dishes came together quickly Friday morning, which makes them an easy go-to on busy weekday nights or for those who dont like to devote a lot of time in their kitchens.

Cummings came to the class with the chicken already marinated, but the marinade itself was made of green onion, garlic, white vinegar, a little bit of salt and Adobo seasoning.

No Caribbean kitchen is complete without it, Cummings said of the Goya brand, Adobo.

The marinade she used can be made with whatever you have in the house, and to individual preferences. The important part is letting it marinate properly at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight. Cummings marinates her meat for two days.

What makes the brown stew chicken truly special is melting sugar in the pot with vegetable oiland adding in a little bit of ketchup for colorbefore adding the chicken. Cummings used brown sugar in the class, but any sugar on hand will do, she said. The syrup adds a thoroughly enjoyable slight sweetness.

The pigeon peas dish is even simpler. Basmati rice and pigeon peas (gandules) are boiled in basmati rice. Among other spices, the star is whole pimento (allspice) seeds, the flavor of which asserts itself strongly in the dish.The rice which takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook can be eaten as a side or as the main dish.

Cummings has memories of pigeon peas from her childhood.

I grew up shelling them at home from a tree in the backyard, she said. Dont substitute them for regular green peas; if you cant find pigeon peas, use red beans instead, Cummings said.

The final dish steamed cabbage is colorful and highly adaptable. A roughly cut medium cabbage is added to sauteed onion in butter, garlic, pepper and other seasonings. Cummings had the class cut up carrots and multicolored bell peppers to add to the cabbage for color. During class, Cummings had to find a larger pot for the dish, as the newly cut cabbage didnt quite fit. After simmering for about 15 minutes, though, the ingredients had shrunk down into a flavorful and yes, colorful side dish.

Together, the three dishes made for a great meal, which the class tucked into eagerly. While munching, Cummings encouraged the class to make the dishes their own. She doesnt use measurements herself, which leaves a lot of room for spontaneity and personal taste. And the class has a great place to start, thanks to Cummings insistence on hands-on participation.

Natalie Duleba can be reached at 459-7536.

Brown Stew Chicken

1 whole (4 pound) chicken, cut into piece or leg quarters. Boneless chicken can also be used for those who want to avoid bones

2 finely chopped green onions

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon all-purpose(Adobo)Goya seasoning

1/2 chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

2 carrots cut into cubes

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 up brown sugar (or whatever kind is on hand)

1 cup water

1/2 canned coconut milk (optional)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon butter

Clean chicken by removing any extra fat, then rinse with 1/4 cup vinegar. Place chicken in a bowl and sprinkle with green onion, cilantro, garlic, onion, Goya all-purpose(Adobo)seasoning, salt and pepper. Coat chicken. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Stir in sugar, then stir until the it has melted into a nice, golden brown syrup. Add in ketchup and stir. Add the chicken pieces and turn continuously to coat the chicken. Cover the pot and let cook for two minutes.

Pour inwater, coconut milk, pepper flakes, carrots, butter, onions and anything thats left in the bowl.Replace the lid and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Continue cooking until chicken is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with the sauce in the pot as gravy.

If you want a bit more gravy, add a bit more water as needed. But not too much, Cummings said, as water leaches away the flavor.

Pigeon Peas

1 can (19-ounce) of pigeon peas (gandules), including liquid

1 can coconut milk

2 scallion stalks

2 garlic cloves, chopped

A few pimento seeds (whole allspice)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 to 2 teaspoon salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cups water

2 cups basmati or other long grain rice

Empty the can of pigeon peas along with the liquid into a large saucepan or pot. Fill the empty can with water and pour in. Add chopped onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Add coconut milk and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add rice and boil on high for two minutes.

Turn heat to low and cook covered until all the water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Fluff with fork and serve.

SteamedCabbage

1 medium cabbage, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 crushed garlic cloves or 2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 or 3 bell peppers, cut into small slices

1 medium chopped onion or 2 tablespoons onion powder

Goya all-purpose seasoning (Adobo) to taste

Lemon pepper to taste

Wash cut cabbage.Saute onion, garlic, pepper and thyme in butter in large pot.Add cabbage, carrots, bell peppers and stir.Cover pot and cook cabbage until tender.Sprinkle with Adobo seasoning and lemon pepper to taste. Simmer, then serve as a side dish.

Excerpt from:

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival finds its Caribbean rhythm with a cooking class - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Posted in Caribbean | Comments Off on Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival finds its Caribbean rhythm with a cooking class – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

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