That is the question I found myself pondering last week, as a sipped on a cup of hot pot water.
I can think of nothing comparable to a cup of steaming hot pot water generously flavored with bits of ground provisions, banana, and dumplings. For as long as I can remember I have watched my grandmother and just about every ‘older’ Jamaican woman, and some men too, I know sip on the water left from boiling a pot of ground provisions (food), before dinner.
Was it a simple country ritual from long ago. Borne possible form the habit of drinking a hot beverage to ease gas/ hunger pains before meals. Pot water always seemed to be an alternative to hot tea/ coffee. Whatever the reason a steaming hot cup of pot water was a given when we boiled food for dinner. By virtue of being a ‘foreigner’ or some such foolishness I now find myself doing like other tourists and get waited on so I haven’t taken much notice to see if this custom is still practiced.
My grandmother liked to add a carrot or 2 to her pot water. She believed carrots were a visual aid. There is some truth to that since:
” …Because carrots are rich in vitamin A and lutein they provides many benefits for healthy vision, but eating carrots every day will not restore vision to 20/20. Still, eating Bugs Bunny’s food of choice, are always a good choice for a nutrient-packed snack…” KEEP READING
Some follks add a whole uncut pepper for a little flavor, some pierce it with a fork for a little kick. I don’t add the carrot very often but I do appreciate a little spice. On this particular day I happened to be cooking Ackee & saltfish so the saltiness from the fish added extra flavor to a water already enhanced with bits of ackee, banana, yam and cornmeal dumplings. A few slices of hot peppers made it even tastier. Kinda like a poor man’s soup or ‘long wata’ another Jamaicanism…
And that brings me back to my original questions, is pot water a Jamaican ting or no?