A Kitchen Conversation

Don’t Stop the Carnival, All Summer Long

By: Ted Robinson, Private Chef 

Children perform during St. John Festival’s parade.

 

Last Fourth of July I was in Delaware and I really missed being here for Carnival.
I realized just how special our Carnival is when I tried to tell people up there about it. I was in a town that rolled up the streets and went to bed by 11 p.m.

They just couldn’t grasp the fact that young children dance in the streets with their family and friends well past midnight.

“Little kids?” they’d ask.

“Yes, little kids,” I’d say as I held my hand about knee high as a visual aid to help them understand.
I guess you have to be here to understand that Festival Village doesn’t really get going until late in the evening. And you really have to be here to understand how Carnival is a time when all of St. John, young and old, comes out to dance, to celebrate and to eat.

This year I watched in amazement as people around me danced while holding a plate of food in one hand, their drink in the other, not spilling any of it, and the whole time keeping an eye on the kids. To me, this is a true Virgin Islander’s skill. And one that I have not yet conquered.

If I tried to do this “Carnival Shuffle” — eat, drink and dance while watching anything — I’d end up looking like I’d been using a food processor all night without the lid. Just standing still amid the sights and sounds of Festival Village, I managed to spill some food on myself.

Food on my clothes is pretty much par for the course for me, so I didn’t mind, really. I know how to get food stains out of clothes. It’s just that the food was so good, I was sorry I dropped even one bite of it.

Carnival this year was great. It was so well organized and all the participants really shone. The food booths had not only excellent food, but excellent decorations as well. Everything you’d want Carnival to be, it was.

I love the hometown, neighborly feeling that Carnival brings to our community. So just because the Fourth has passed, it doesn’t mean you have to stop the Carnival.

Take advantage of the longer days and warm weather. Get the grill going and cook something special in addition to burgers and dogs.

Remember that Hawksnest and Francis have grills we can all use.

Today’s recipe is meant to be cooked outside, held in your hands and eaten while dancing.

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Today’s Recipe

 

Me, I’ll stay near the grill and watch the talented people who can do all these things at once.

I’m going to finish with a couple of clarifications regarding my last column. First, the Family Meal recipe should have stated four ounces of pasta per person. Sorry, that was a typo.

And second, because so many people were so excited about taking the Palm Pilot, there may have been a misunderstanding. I didn’t cook for Steve Jobs. It’s a Palm Pilot, not an iPhone.

Email me any questions about the recipes in this column or about food and cooking. There’s a link on my Web site, www.tedssupperclub.com, for you to send your questions to, and my email address is

[email protected]