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St. Elizabeth born Veda Sampson has shown her love for cooking and Jamaican food by writing a new cookbook, ‘Big Nanny’s Caribbean Kitchen’, which had its official launch at the Jamaican High Commission in London on October 26.
The book, which is dedicated to Mrs. Sampson’s Parents, Miriam and Cecil, took two years to write and publish.
“I have been cooking since I was nine. My dad was a great cook, that is why I dedicated the book to my parents. Not only do I cook the food but I also have an allotment where I grow them. So you are talking about the lady who grows the scallion, the thyme, the onion and the red peas,” Mrs. Sampson said.
Mrs. Sampson or ‘Big Nanny’ as she is fondly called, grew up as the youngest of six children in St. Elizabeth where her father was a farmer, and also had some livestock. She said her mother was a higgler who took not only the farm produce but also the dishes she cooked to the market for sale. Young Veda would help her parents in these and other chores and her passion for cooking and Jamaican foods developed then.
“No one can say our food is not the best when it’s cooked. I used to go and get the fish for my mom and I wanted to do a cookbook because I am very passionate about it. It is not only about the cooking but also about Jamaica. Sometimes we need to look back on the good things. I decided to take all those recipes out of my head and put them in a book,” she said.
New Diaspora Development Officer, Keste Miller spoke at the launch of the book on behalf of High Commissioner, Gail Mathurin. He congratulated Mrs. Sampson, noting that the book brought back memories of growing up in the Jamaican countryside.
The new cookbook features a variety of Jamaican traditional recipes, ranging from starters, soups and snacks to meat dishes, cakes and puddings as well as a section on Jamaican and Caribbean herbs and spices.
There is a section dedicated to Jamaican favourites, such as tamarind balls, gizzadas, greater cakes and drops.
‘Big Nanny’ also offers unique tastes, such as steamed mango and orange with rum and a delicious pineapple and mango crumble.
The launch was sponsored by Western Union and supported by Jewel Isle Rum Punch.