Monday, November 8, 2010

Fast food isn't all bad!

You can learn alot about a culture by simply observing what the people eat. Part of identifying with another culture is eating what they eat and shopping where they shop. I am glad that our ministry here is in the Bible College because it gave us the opportunity right at the starting gate to do just that. Our first year here, we frequently ate lunch with the students. The kitchen is real close to the tables so I could observe what Miss Vivian was making and how she was doing it. Menus at the Bible college are made on a shoe string budget, some I like, some not so much!

Another time to observe and learn is when teams come to minister on the island. A Jamaican will be hired to cook and they succeed in tying some American dishes into the week. Spaghetti will be one of the meals and dishes that are common to us. While the teams are here, there will be at least one lunch of patties.

Patties are to Jamaica what hamburgers are to the American. They are wonderful! Renee can buy a patty for lunch at her school. We travel across the island alot and in almost every town you will find a Juicy Patty, a Mothers, a Tastee or an establishment that makes their own patties, not necessarily franchised across the country.

Patties are a half moon pastry crimped on the sides like a turnover, filled with meat. Of course the meat is flavored with scotch bonnets so the temperature is a tad spicy for a stomach like mine! But once I get accustomed to the heat, I hardly want to stop till I get near the end. They are so good! In the right season you can even get lobster patties. There are beef, chicken, veggie, shrimp, fish, soy and ackee patties.

Some say the patty took off here in Jamaica because of the British influence. Miners in the UK would take what they called "pasty" in their pail to the mines. The pasties would stay warm and could even be used for hand warmers! The filling in the British pasties would be steak, potatoes and onions. They were popular not just because they were stomach-filling, but also because they were easy to hold and eat.

Here in Jamaica a patty and a boxed juice is a common lunch. But you know what, I have seen them eat them for breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. So I guess I would say they are an all day kind of food.

Another thing I have observed is you can see a poor "street" man and a business man in the same patty line. You will see school children and street vendors buying their lunch at the same place....the local patty place!

Tastee is the leading name in patty making. This company began in 1966 by a Chinese man no less! They make over 100,000 patties each day. The last time we flew back into Jamaica we sat beside the son of the founder of Tastee's. He works for the company and it was so educational to hear the story of this company. He was such a handsome, distinguished man. I was very impressed with the story, the work ethic and integrity he described the company to have and the drive of his father. We have a Tastee in Mandeville and I love going there. It is a reminder of the flight we took with the Tastee man!

Juicy Patty is another popular company for making patties. It was founded in 1980. We drive by their headquarters every Thursday on the way to Kingston for Renee's violin lesson. It is a very popular spot because driving from Mandeville to Kingston is a tough drive with few bathroom stops in between! But the Juicy Patty in Porus is the stopping place for gasoline, potty and "patty" break!

Some eat their patty without the best part in my opinion. The coco bread tops it off. The roll that you put the patty in is wonderful! It is warm, dense, and huge! Sometimes I buy the coco bread to make sandwiches at home or just to eat warm. The coco bread absorbs the grease or filling from the patty that falls out.

You know what! I'm to Patty land!


  1. Sounds wonderful. Do they Florida? Maybe they have a web site we could order from and have them Fed Exd to us. In the mean time - do you have a recipe? Uncle Ray.

  2. Oh you are a nut! I would love to hand deliver them. they are terrific!
    I will send you the recipe!!
    love ya!