Layne family feast
On Sunday, we accepted an invitation from Roger Layne of Vauxhall to his family’s annual New Year’s get-together. The first image to greet us was the lofty breadfruit tree that stood imposingly in front of the house at 1st Avenue near to Payne’s Development.
From our vantage point we could see the trees that lined the brow at the southern end of the Sheraton area. The scene was set for what was to be a traditional Bajan lime.
As we entered the gate, which led to the quaint banqueting area, we were warmly greeted by the members of the family who seemed to be enjoying the meal in front of them. The mood was relaxed and we immediately felt at home.
Those seated in the banqueting area on the outside, we soon learnt, were relatives of Roger’s wife Julia, including her mum, brother, sister, and nephew. For them this was clearly a place of great familiarity. They were extremely at ease.
Roger soon invited us into the kitchen where he was busy slicing the ham. He, however, found time to reflect with pride on his handiwork on display in the kitchen. The immaculately manufactured cupboards were his showpiece, reflecting the quality of his craftsmanship. He was also delighted to make us aware of his contribution to the day’s menu.
“All the meats are mine. I was responsible for preparing and cooking all the meats here. I can do my own thing in the kitchen,” he said.
The meats for this culinary treat included ham, turkey, chicken, and pork. Roger gave credit to his wife, her mum and aunt for their contribution. Mum offered the sweet potato pie and aunty the beef stew. One of their friends, referred to as Mr Moore, prepared the breadfruit pie. Julia was responsible for the other treats on display.
There seemed no limit to the choice of culinary offerings at the New Year family gathering. Breadfruit pie, English potato pie, sweet potato pie, macaroni pie, tossed salad, coleslaw, and sweet potato salad along with turkey, pork, chicken, beef stew and ham all presented themselves as a true Bajan meal.
The food in itself made for a grand occasion and the social interaction was a delight. The issues on the table reflected topics of the current season. Among these, of course, was the impending General Election and anyone’s guess as to when it will be. The Alexandra saga also attracted its fair share of commentary. Discussion was mild, good-natured, humourous and far from being rancorous.
At the end of the meal some of the folks resorted to a favourite pastime of dominoes. Among those was Roger’s brother David (also known as “Labba”) who was missed for a while, before it was discovered that in that short time he was given a six-love. Meanwhile, the children were finding comfort in their own company with some of the very young ones playing a game of hide-and-seek.
Soon the cake and ice cream emerged from the kitchen and were quickly consumed by children and adults alike.
Neighbours who were obviously regulars had also gathered and were exchanging pleasantries with the Layne family.
Together it was all one happy family as they took time to unwind and plan for another year.