Not to get too personal or anything but I have had a stomach ache since I was 11. The first doctor laughed, the second and third doctors thought it was stress or my imagination, a few other doctors told me to keep a food diary, doctors 6 and 7 tested me for Celiac’s disease and one told me to drink fennel and peppermint tea. Finally as I near that rather large threshold that rhymes with “haughty”, I decided to do something about it. The most recent doctor, seen in London, in a large and airy office in Harley Street with fresh plants and art work on the walls, told me to give up wheat for 6 weeks. Now I have always suspected that wheat might be the culprit, but who wants to voluntarily give up pizza, pasta, roti, doubles, cake, cookies, scones, cereal, toast, crackers, Kit-kats, Twixes, and cookie-dough ice-cream? I am now on day 22 of my no-wheat diet and guess what? No stomach ache, No bloating, and most remarkably, No craving for the very things I can’t have. The hardest thing about all this is all the Trini food that I love to eat.
First, Bake and Shark. (Although I always have Bake and Cheese and Never Shark.) Bake is a fried bread that is stuffed with shark or shrimp or cheese and a multitude of toppings including pineapple, tamarind sauce, shado beni ( coriander), salad, garlic sauce and thousand island dressing, making it the best sandwich in the world. Call Gayle on Oprah! It’s true.
Second, Roti. This is a soft bread lined with channa ( crushed chick peas) and filled with goat, chicken (boned or un-boned)or vegetables. I always take the vegetables and it is warm and delicious and filling and so so good.
Third, Doubles. Doubles are simply a double portion of soft fried bread filled with a channa (chick pea) sauce and served with pepper, cucumbers and shado beni. They are to eaten standing up in front of the Doubles stand where the Doubles man only makes Doubles in the morning. By 11 am, there is a dearth of Doubles around as everybody has eaten Doubles for breakfast. I had just moved from a regular to a slight (a bit hot) to a pepper Doubles and now I have given them up.
I am just going to the mirror to look at my flatter, happy stomach. I am trying not to think about the Doubles.