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Dumplings with silent doctors


Annette Maynard-Watson

Dumplings with silent doctors

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Greetings all! The Independence celebrations have commenced.
Mine began with reflecting on our vintage Bajan dumplings and being in my mother’s uterus in 1966.  
I believe my father said to her: “Phem, girl, Dipper (the Honourable Errol Barrow) giving us Independence.”
Indeed! I was being nurtured in the ambiotic fluid when the excitement of my parents prevailed about Independence. I love Independence.
In addition, I love Bajan dumplings and I will address you on Dumplings with silent doctors.  
This article is written in my capacity as a qualified educator, not only of history but food and nutrition. Yes!
I was also tutored in food and nutrition at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. My tutors included Dr Antonia Coward.  
Independence cannot escape the inclusion of Bajan dumplings with silent doctors. Dumplings may be facing extinction and we must save them.
Our parents understood the essence of preserving our heritage and they ensured that some of us inherited the art of making real dumplings. I advise young people to appreciate dumplings.  
Additionally, dumplings are rolled and we must avoid dropping them with spoons – they are not fishcakes. Dumplings will acquire that unique oval or round presentation once the technique involves rolling them using only the palm of your hands.
My mother included dumplings in cocoa tea, stewed food, on top of rice and in soups. Leftover dumplings were sliced and fried the next morning for breakfast. Those dumplings assisted me in becoming an outstanding athlete at primary and secondary school. My sisters and I love dumplings and often searched our Bajan soup to find them.  
While conducting research, an elder told me, “I put cassava flour in some dumplings de other day, man! They eat good.” She further said that “Bajan soup ain’t no soup, if it ain’t got in dumplings”.  
In practising my culinary arts, I modified the recipe to make them healthier. I use whole wheat flour, honey, nutmeg, spice, cinnamon, spinach, flax seed, carrots and I must have cornmeal. The nutritional value of these whole wheat dumplings can assist with preventing anaemia, some cancers and fungal problems, depression, poor circulation, nervousness, insomnia, flatulence and other health challenges.
Our Bajan dumpling is unique and, like most Bajans, I too believe that its navel string buried here. They can assist in keeping us healthy once prepared correctly. Bajan dumplings are unique.  After all, they are always the main attraction wherever they appear – in soup or in stewed food.
Finally, I wish this Independence to salute retired food and nutrition teacher Mrs Shelia Mayers of Harmony Hall, St Philip, who passionately assisted in shaping me into what I have become.

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