Two weekends ago, when I was making my Jamaican Beef Patty recipe to be photographed for the website, my daughter Diane dropped by with my youngest grandchild, Raine. Right away Raine wanted to help me cook, so I got her to stir this and mix that. When she was three years old we “modelled” together for a food magazine and “made” peanut butter and banana muffins. It was lots of fun, but she was playing not cooking. She’s nine years old now and she’s old enough to actually help me in the kitchen and not just get in the way.
When my daughters were her age I let them help me bake cakes and loafs. I had an old blue cookbook with step-by-step photos they loved to look at. By the time they were 11 and 12 they were baking on their own. I’ll never forget the time Diane made a pound cake that was speckled with brown spots because she didn’t cream the butter and sugar enough. But that’s how she learned how important it is to cream the ingredients until fluffy. It’s all about trial and error. By the time my girls were in junior high I was showing them how to season meat and make gravy. But because we didn’t eat Jamaican food every day it became a special treat that I’d make and never got around to teaching them. Better late than never, I guess. What’s great about this website it that it allows me to spend time with my daughters and my grandchildren and makes me feel good knowing that they’ll be making these Jamaican recipes for a long time. My Toto coconut cake recipe is a great recipe to make with your young children or grandchildren. The kids can help you measure the ingredients, and it takes no time to mix it up and pop it into the oven. What I know now is how much food contributes to the legacy of family memories. Several of the dishes on this site are my grandmother’s recipes! Even when someone is gone, we can still remember them by the food they used to make, and how we felt when we ate it.