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Fill ‘er up, slight pepper
“Fry bake with corned beef and plantain, ketchup and pepper.’’
“Sada, plain. Bodi and egg, mix, please.’’
Every morning, I watch the passing parade of wacko ‘breakfasses’ being ordered and served at my favourite stop-and-go food place in Port-of-Spain.
And it’s usually the men ordering the rambunctious combos. Women are forever trying to match their waistlines to some famous ideal or dieting for an important event, so they usually ask for only one type of filling in their sada or bake. And then they look all apologetic for consuming a bunch of carbs before they even wake up properly.
But the guys have re-defined the concept of playing with one’s food. They unabashedly load it up in the most awe-inspiring ways—stewed chicken and cheese; liver and bodi; potato and pumpkin. Gosh, man.
True, I grew up watching my brother consume corned beef and cheese (and not gain an ounce). Peanut butter, banana and crispy bacon sandwiches were reportedly a favourite of Elvis Presley. And I once saw fashion designer Heather Jones, a woman of innovative style, nibbling at a bread and condensed milk sandwich.
But the increased availability of sada roti and vegetable choka (check a corner near you) has expanded our repertoires, and mornings are like scenes from the soon-to-be-released Breakfasses Gone Wild video. Last week, a normal-looking man ahead of me in the line got the best of two twilight zones. He ordered one slice of sada roti but cut in half.
In one half, he wanted roast caraillie with plantain slices and in the second half, pumpkin and boil egg. I shuffled backwards a few feet in case his head suddenly started oscillating and pea soup came flying out of his mouth.
My other best breakfast counter, in Central, where they generously level the choka on the sada like masons plastering a wall, doesn’t rely on folks ordering up their own mixes. Good thing, because an abundance of permutations can hold up a line horribly.
So the cook invents her own put-togethers. I go there for entertainment, just to see what next she will do. The mad menu has included chow mein with saltfish; tomato choka with smoke herring; and the all-time winner—curried channa and cabbage.
The first time I heard a customer ordering the channa and cabbage challenge I thought it was a joke and burst into laughter. Then I noticed people were staring at me as if I had something dangling from the end of my nose.
“That does lash!’’ The waitress reprimanded me.
But things could be worse. A restaurant in Philadelphia, USA, actually used to serve a cheeseburger between two chocolate-covered sponge cakes, and good old reliable KFC came up with the brilliant anti-bread sandwich—two fried chicken fillets housing bacon and two kinds of cheese, all dripping with a special kind of gooey sauce from the Colonel. It is called the Double Down—perhaps because that is what your arteries do after you consume it.
Sandwiches used to be normal boring things we put in a brown bag when we were too busy to cook a hot meal. Now, they are a riot.
Well, why not. Have fun. Don’t be a crumb. Watch me: this morning I had wholewheat sada (so I can imagine it’s a healthy choice) with bhaigan choka and plantain mix, slight pepper and a drizzle of tamarind sauce.
Yeah. It lash.
Tell Elsa your best and worst sandwiches at [email protected]
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