Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My Attempt To Make Jamaican Escovitch Without The Burn

A series about foods we miss and our quests to recreate them.

While we all know Jamaica owes many of its food and cultural influences to British weirdoes (see: love of porridges; how my mother writes "Many happy returns!" in my birthday card every year), what is less known is the Spanish influence on the island.

The Spanish "discovered" Jamaica a long time ago. I, admittedly, am somewhat fuzzy on all the details of Jamaican history, but here's what you need to know: The Spanish came first in 1494—some say it was Columbus, some say it was another dude. No matter. Today, we call the place where the Spanish [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

I was of MTV-watching age right around the time the channel was transitioning from showing long blocks of music videos to reality-show programming. And, of course, "Undressed." But between mornings before school, and "TRL" in the afternoons, and late nights, there were still a few hours a day when you could catch a run of clips. While I can name a dozen or so that made an impact, Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" was maybe the most important. It was the first video that showed me hip hop could be both sexy and weird.

Sexy I understood. Women [...]


Black & White In Mayberry

When the news of Andy Griffith’s death was confirmed, I called my dad.

He is three hours behind me, and was just waking up in a suburban tract home located in the largest city in American history to ever file for bankruptcy. It is a long way from me, and a long way from where he grew up, in a haphazardly built house in all-black Slate Hill, in Roanoke, Virginia.

Tuesday was a long time from when my dad watched "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 60s. And it felt like a long time from when I would spend afternoons watching the show with him in the 90s.

And [...]