Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
Inside this Issue
The Miracle of Coconut Oil
Is it true? It is nonsense? Why all the hype? We examine the popularity of the Doomsday belief with all the facts. A Must Read!
Nutty for coconuts? Then this is just for you. The many uses and benefits of coconut oil are explored.
CARNIVAL: THE STORY BEHIND THE MASK
Exploring the festival of the people, its origins, & message.
‘Man in d’ Pot’ Recipes
Ol’ Talk’s newest segment with mouth watering recipes, tips and tricks courtesy Caribbean Pot.
10 questions with Caribbean Pot’s Chris De La Rosa 3
On Ol Talkâ€™s YouTube channel :
Check it out Now : www.oltalkmagazine.com Or facebook/ oltalkmagazine
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
It’s always been a challenge to figure out just when something actually starts. Finding the beginning is almost never a black or white issue, rather one that consists of blurry lines and frequent shades of grey. What was your very first memory? When did you really start getting wrinkles? When exactly did you move from being a child to an adult? While the beginning can be difficult to predict, ‘the end’ seems to be something that everyone has an opinion about. ‘The end’ is fixed to many, whether that end be right now, or in less than 12 months. We all seem to know that we’re going to die at some point, we just don’t know when. But we do know that when that day comes there will be no shades of grey and no blurred lines, because when yuh dead, yuh dead!
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Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
*Magazine circulation : March - May 2012.
2012 seems to be a year shrouded with heightened expectations of ‘Something Big’ happening. While ‘something big’ means many things to different people, the common sentiment felt among the masses seems to favor something profound and earth altering, which means that according to some, whatever’s going down is gonna be bad... real bad. If you don’t have a clue about what we’re talking about, then you must be living under the proverbial rock, but don’t worry, we here at Ol’ Talk Magazine are dedicated to breaking all of this down, so that all the theories about 2012, and then some, will be presented to you the reader, because you, and only you can determine if all of this “End of days” commotion could be fact, fictional, or just a bit of Ol’ talk.
After four years without any significant solar flare activity, the sun produced two of these powerful blasts in less than one month. The recent trend of increasing solar activity confirms that the current Sun’s Cycle is heating up, but experts say that solar activity is expected to peak sometime in 2013. When the atmosphere of the sun explodes, a solar flare occurs. In an instant, an enormous amount of energy and radiation is expelled. Very rarely do the expelled particles reach earth, but when they do, the Earth's magnetic field offers protection. These flares still have a potential to be hazardous, and if a major one occurs, there is a potential for a disruption in communication networks and weather satellites. There is also the potential for massive power failure, which could leave millions without electricity. In 1859 a strong solar storm caused the malfunction of the telegraph wires in the United States and in Europe, and this caused widespread fires around the affected areas. Other Solar storms in 1989 and 2003 supposedly caused major blackouts in Canada and the United States.
“A solar flare occurs when the surface of the sun explodes, ejecting enormous amounts of heat and radiation.” DID YOU KNOW?
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
A Solar disturbance in 1989 plunged six million people into darkness across the Canadian province of Quebec.
Russian Researchers are trying to establish a link between the earthquake in Japan and solar activity. According to recordings taken the night before the earthquake occurred, a larger than normal solar flare was detected, and researchers speculate that these two events could have been linked.
It has also been observed that one of the Chilean earthquakes of 2010 was also accompanied by a magnetic storm, and some believe that it could have triggered activity in the Earth’s crust.
Studies show the correlation between magnetic storms and earthquakes is 50:50, however, they can neither confirm, nor deny this interrelation.
ur galaxy is an ancient one, comprised of many stars, all special in their own way, each with its own molecular makeup and unique characteristics, but none is believed to be as special for Human Beings as Earth. Life on earth has flourished with many micro-organisms and species of plants and animals, many of which remain undiscovered by man to this day. Interestingly, water has always taken the credit for this boom of life on our planet, however, the Sun is just as important. Throughout history there has been a perpetuation of the concept that life on earth is finite, who hasn’t heard that familiar adage of “all good things come to an end”? For many centuries we have been obsessed with the “Great Apocalypse” that will bring ‘our world’ to a figurative and literal end. We’ve seen our share of prophets, and those who claim to know secret knowledge The artifacts under debate: The Mayan Calendar (left) and the Codex about circumstances to which we are not all aware. There have been prophecies and superstitions, mathematical and celestial calculations, and religious winter and summer solstice, the date assumed by many to be the last on their and cult followers who all have differing theories on ‘the end’. However, it’s calendar, is December 21st 2012, the day of the winter solstice. On this day, fair to say that 2012 seems to have struck a very special nerve with all the the rising solstice sun is expected to align with the center of the galaxy, in a doomsayers, but why? rare event known as the Galactic Alignment, during which the The reason has everything to do with the ‘ancient’ Mayan Mesoamerican civilization. It’s intriguing to note that these people lived their lives in veneration to the sun, while observing and understanding other stars in the galaxy. The Mayans were the astronomers, astrologers, mathematicians and scientists of their time. Their understanding of the galaxy was so profound that is still leaves researchers puzzled to this day.
Mayans believed a portal will be opened connecting man and God.
On this day, the rising solstice
Now here’s the kicker, because of the actions of the Spanish conquistadors, most of the Mayan writings and scripts were delibcenter of the galaxy, in a rare erately destroyed, and their native language and cultural practices like the other tribes were suppressed to a point that still rears its event known as the Galactic colonial head to this day- with an entire continent of people speakAlignment, during which the ing a European language (Spanish), and practicing a religion that was forced onto their ancestors. Left standing of the recorded Mayans believed a portal will Mayan Legacy are a few ancient ruins that the Spanish never disbe opened connecting man and covered, and a codex that many experts have tried to decipher; God. because of this lack of information, there is also a lack of clarity as to what the writings really say, if indeed it makes any reference to What’s more astounding? They the long count calendar, and its end date. Sadly, many of the decreated an accurate 365 day solar year scendants of the Maya and other tribes still exist today( i.e. most ‘Hispanics’/ calendar similar to what is used today. They were so fixated on cycles and Latin Americans), but we can’t ask them for answers, because they themtime, that they formulated three calendars, the solar calendar, a ritual calenselves refuse to accept that they are the Native people (due to colonial braindar, which highlighted their important celebratory and significant periods, washing). Perhaps the Mesoamerican Armageddon occurred the day the first and a long count calendar; the latter of which is the most significant to modSpaniard walked the shores of Central/South America, because what ensued ern doomsday fanatics. According to the Mayan calendar, recorded time was the figurative death of an entire civilization that still exists today, wiping began in 3114 BC, continuing in cycles for 5126 years, with the last calcuaway their identity, from their last names, to their social and cultural markers. lated year ending in 2012. Since the Mayans like other cultures celebrated the
sun is expected to align with the
Predictions of a Y2K technology meltdown sent people scrambling to stock up on supplies believing major institutions like stock markets, and travel infrastructure would cease to function resulting in a forced ‘cave age’ of humanity.
Harold Camping, an American pastor predicted that the biblical ‘Rapture’ would occur on May 21, 2011, with the disappearance of God’s flock of faithful. The day arrived, and nothing of the sort occurred, the good old Pastor altered his original prediction to state that a “Spiritual Judgment" took place, and the “real biggie” would occur on October 21, 2011. Well we all know how that one turned out...
Several doomsday theories focus on : Galactic alignment, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, a Geomagnetic Pole reversal, collision with Nibiru (celestial object) or some other interplanetary object, Alien invasion or the Earth being destroyed by a giant supernova, or Solar eruptions.
Nostradamus suggested the world’s end in this year.
In the Some believe that eventually the Sun will expand to a point that swallows the future Earth or completely scorches it. Some scientists believe that as the Sun grows gradually hotter (over millions of years), the Earth may become too hot for life in only a billion years' time.
THE FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKES REPRESENT SIGNIFICANT MAGNITUDE AND WERE RECORDED THE START OF THE YEAR 2012
Fortunately, some experts have interpreted the end of the calendar as signifying the end of one cycle of time and the beginning of another, creating a new age of renewal, but there are others who strongly believe that it foretells the end of life on Earth. A SINCE
5.2 EASTERN TURKEY March 26
7.1 MAULE, CHILE March 25 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.1 4.8 4.8 4.4 5.6 6.6 6.2
SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION March 25 ANTARCTIC RIDGE March 25 IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN March 24. METROPOLITANA, CHILE March 24 OAXACA, MEXICO March 24 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION March 23 SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA March 23 SOUTH AUSTRALIA March 23 PAPUA NEW GUINEA March 21 PAPUA, INDONESIA March 20
7.4 OAXACA, MEXICO March 20 6.9 6.7 4.0 6.6 6.7 6.0 6.4 5.6 6.7
OFF THE COAST OF HONSHU,JAPAN March 14 VANUATU March 09 SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIFORNIA March 05 SOUTHEAST OF THE LOYALTY ISLANDS March 03 SOUTHWESTERN SIBERIA, RUSSIA February 26 OFF THE COAST OF OREGON February 15 SOLOMON ISLANDS February 14 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA February 13 NEGROS-CEBU REGION, PHILIPPINES February 06
7.1 VANUATU February 02 6.3 6.6 6.6 6.8
NEAR THE COAST OF CENTRAL PERU January 30 SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS January 15 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS January 09 IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION January 01
DID YOU KNOW? According to the journal ‘Nature,’ the Earth's largest earthquakes can weaken fault zones worldwide, triggering periods of increased global seismic activity. NASA scientist Richard Gross performed a theoretical calculation of how the Japan earthquake has impacted Earth's rotation. According to Gross, theoretically the earthquake could have caused Earth to rotate faster, shortening the length of the day by approx. 1.8 microseconds (one millionth of a second). A study of seismographs from the Chilean quake has shown a significant increase of micro-earthquakes in central California in the first few hours after the main shock. The study suggests that seismic waves from distant quakes could trigger a seismic response on the other side of Earth.
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
While we look to the past for answers, observation of the present seems to dictate a similar tale of doom; feeding on the hysteria that “Something” is coming, and it’s headed straight our way. We have witnessed the horrific In accordance to the Aztec ability of natural disasters, which have either been occurring more legend of the Five Suns, we seem frequently or with far worse to be approaching the sunset of consequences than we’ve ever seen. Just this year alone we’ve had 3 our days because we are in the earthquakes over 7.0 on the Richter final cycle , the cycle of the Fifth Scale, devastating floods in Sun. It is foretold that this cycle Australia, Mozambique and the Philippines, massive tornadoes in will end with a massive America, significant solar flares and earthquake that will tear the just plain odd weather conditions - a earth apart, and calculations European deepfreeze that claimed lives, and the extreme drought in point to this occurring on Africa. Add all that to a ravaged December 24, 2012. worldwide economic climate, soaring gas prices, massive unemployment and increasing civil unrests, it does seem like we are in desperate times. Sadly it doesn't end there. There is an increasing threat of worldwide coastal floods as ocean levels are rapidly rising due to melting glaciers. Pollution and green house gasses are aiding the increase of temperatures and simultaneously eroding the earth’s UV defense, which could result in an increased potential for damage from solar storms. NASA has already confirmed an increase in solar activity and has suggested a 2013 peak while Russian research has detected a possible link between the sun and the Japanese and Chilean quakes, which means that if this relationship proves positive, we should expect higher magnitude, and an increased frequency of earthquakes as solar activity peaks. NASA has also announced that in addition to the Galactic Alignment, there might be a Magnetic Pole reversal in 2012, which could further solar flare ups. Scientists have expressed that there is no danger to be expected from the pole reversal, but skeptics believe this magnetic reversal is the precursor to the Mayan Prophecy. Some worry that the switching of the poles could have an impact on the earth’s crust, and cause movements in the tectonic plates, thus acting as a catalyst to massive quakes, and volcanic eruptions which could deeply impact human life. Like the Mayans, the Aztecs, another Mesoamerican tribe believed in the importance of the sun and revered it’s ability. They also believed in rebirth cycles of both the earth and sun and expected this process to occur a total of 5 times, but before a new solar star was reborn, their belief was that earth transitioned through a difficult period of destruction and chaos, with peace being restored only when the new sun cycle commenced. In accordance to the legend of the Five Suns, we seem to be approaching the sunset of our days because expert research currently places us in the final cycle, the cycle of the Fifth Sun. It is foretold that this cycle will end with a massive earthquake that will tear the earth apart, and according to interpreted calculations, this should occur December 24, 2012.
Weather and environmental observations definitely seem to support the theory or belief in a 2012 Armageddon. Animal and insect species are also deeply affected by our environment, pollen bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate due to environmental stresses, just last year people from Sweden to North America witnessed the horrifying sight of thousands of dead birds falling from the sky, and the sight of thousands of dead fish floating in the ocean. The Hawaiian Islands, dubbed "the endangered species capital of the world" has recorded the extinction of another one of its native species, and the polar bears are being closely monitored because they are not expected to survive much longer given the melting Arctic conditions. Yet could it be the intense stresses of the day smearing these legends with exaggeration, or is the planet and its’ life going through a severe phase of unrest? Whatever the case, people have a tendency towards believing in fairytale legends, albeit a nightmare in this case, but it’s in human nature to attempt to establish a relation between current situations and warnings from the past. Perhaps it’s transferred guilt for the mistreatment of earth and its resources that’s manifesting itself in the popularity of this doomsday fable, or perhaps it’s just common sense to question why bad things keep happening all around us with increasing frequency. NASA representatives and other experts have issued statements to the general public that all will be well, but a large portion of the population seem to have concerns over what could occur. The truth is, everyone has an opinion, from the Mayans to Nostradamus, and there are other foretelling prophecies from different cultures. Are you worried?
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
10 Questions with Caribbean Pot’s
Chris De La Rosa
Chris is the founder of www.caribbeanpot.com, a popular online website for Home style Caribbean and fusion dishes. He also hosts “Man in d’ Pot”, an online cooking segment brought to you by Ol’ Talk. His motto : “Never come between a man and his food!”
OTM: How many years have you been cooking?
OTM: How do you come up with your recipes?
CDLR: As long as I could remember. As a child I would shadow my mom in the kitchen, and my uncle was a huge influence back then with cookouts in the bush. When I moved to Canada about 20+ yrs ago it became a thing of necessity (or starve) so I perfected what I already knew and explored many other areas.
CDLR: Caribbeanpot.com started in the Spring of 2008 and I’ve gathered many recipes from memory, from conversations I have with family and friends, requests I receive via social media and my collection of cook books.
Do you have any comical experiences whilst cooking with food?
OTM: Which dish / aroma most reminds you of Trinidad?
CDLR: One late night I was HUNGRY! I spotted a huge eggplant in the CDLR: Definitely fish broth. I would make this with my uncle, and when kitchen, so I knew it was time for baigan choka. Our back light recently I prepare it now, I’m reminded of those memories. blew out, and I was going to prepare this dish outside on the barbeque, so I I always think of home when I smell freshly seasoned meats as well. placed the baigan on the grill and headed inside to prepare the pepper/salt/ garlic combo to complete the dish. Just as I was finishing up, I spotted something in the dark giving me ‘cut eye’... long story short... it was a possum in our back yard. OTM : What’s your ‘MUST HAVE’ ingredient when cooking? It was like a scene out of Forest Gump, man did I run! But of course not CDLR: In just about everything I cook, I try to include onion, garlic, without grabbing my food, he sure wasn’t gonna eat my baigan! On the tomato and hot peppers (scotch bonnet and habanero). I also can't function way back into the house, the possum brushed against me, (though I often without fresh herbs. tell people he attempted to ‘buss mih head with a mango’) I let go of the plate... the eggplant fell to the dirt and I screamed like a schoolgirl (for the baigan, not the possum). I went to bed hungry and embarrassed that night because he did in fact get my baigan. OTM: List some of your favourite dishes from the other Caribbean islands. CDLR: Ackee and Salt fish (Jamaica), Guyanese style Chow Mein, Steamed fish with okra (Jamaica), Bajan style Dumplings in soup and OTM: If you were on death row, which dish would you select as your “Last Meal/ Supper”? Conch Salad, Grenadian Fudge and everyone's favourite: Jerk meats. CDLR: My mom’s curry kingfish and rice; perfectly seasoned with the right balance of heat from the scotch bonnet peppers, the richness of the OTM: Other than Caribbean cuisine, which type(s) of regional/ curry and the love that went into it's preparation. international food do you like? CDLR: I have a definite weakness for Szechuan (Chinese), Thai and OTM: What advice would you give someone who is not familiar with Vietnamese cuisine. Caribbean cuisine? OTM: What’s the best dish(es) you’ve ever eaten? CDLR: Walkers Fish Market in Burlington has an awesome Bread Pudding. I'm not a dessert guy but I was convinced to try it, and it was “BOOM!” The breadfruit pie at Jemma’s Tree Top restaurant in Tobago. I saw the fresh kingfish coming off the boat, and the freshness of the fish, combined with the creaminess of the other ingredients really was amazing! I must mention.. steamed red snapper with okra, cabbage, bammy and crackers at a little local shop just outside Kingston Jamaica.
CDLR: Be prepared for exciting flavors which are heavily influenced by lots of different cultures. African, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern to be more specific. It's important for people to know that our cuisine is not just about jerk chicken, and roti with curry, there is so much more, and it’s equally important to learn about our food, the ingredients, and how to shop for them. That’s why I’m so excited about my collaboration with Ol’ Talk’s video segment “Man in d’ Pot” because in addition to it being a cooking showcase, there are some educational videos dedicated to simple tips and tricks on selecting classic ingredients for great Caribbean Dishes. My last suggestion is don't get intimidated...experiment and have fun, and always follow 3 simple rules: cook, eat and enjoy!
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
The story behind February has come and gone, taking with it the largest and loudest Caribbean costumed extravaganza. While the sun has set on the festivities in Trinidad and Tobago, things are just about to heat up in Canada. Plans are underway for the best and biggest street party in all of North America – the Caribbean Carnival. What’s so special is that this festival combines music, art, and innovative creativity in a cultural tradition that unifies the Caribbean community. Of course preparations have been underway since the year prior; the masquerade bands launched, costumes purchased and the musical artists ripe with preparations for their song showdowns. Similar feelings are shared by everyone; excitement and anticipation is the pre-festival mood, but despite
what the regional and
the obvious entertainment allure, there exists
more to the story of the “Greatest Show on
know as our modern day
took it upon themselves
Carnival. The origin of
perhaps as a symbol of their
primarily the French and the
this great celebration, and
emancipation... to congregate
English. They partied amongst
While everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or income participate in the celebrations, this was not always so. In earlier decades, the masquerade was dominated by the African Caribbean population, but today’s festivities are more socially encompassing, reflecting an entirely new generation of Mas’ players, comprised of every ethnicity in the Caribbean. The largest carnival celebration occurs in Trinidad, where for a few days, the island shuts down to bring together a mass of people, comprised of local,
its earliest revelers are however
The African population
themselves as they saw
story. The evolution of Carnival is phenomenal
fit, and so the beginnings of a
when one considers that its
began in the confines of a
National Carnival was formed.
colonized country where
themselves, not in the streets, but with the exclusivity that defined the venues; always in the
homes, and social clubs. The events were lavish affairs, with the food and drink often the highlights, and such events
the Black population was forbidden to partici-
were held many times throughout the year. It
pate in any form of celebration.
was also commonplace for masquerade or cos-
regional and international visitors, with everyone
Historically, the word ‘carnival’ bears no
celebrating side by side. The continuation of this
Caribbean significance, nor did its early
festival is made possible by the determined and
manifestation have any resemblance to what is
ambitious spirit embodied by the Caribbean
celebrated today. Any form of public celebra-
demographic, which has helped them create
tion in the late 1700s and early 1800s was
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
dominated by the European
tumed balls to occur, with the colonizers finding amusement in the situation of their slaves by dressing themselves as ‘Negres Jardin’ (French for Garden Negroes), and performing mocking re enactments of their “human property.”
the mask. Of course at this time, no one cared about the traditions and culture of the slaves whose identities were as colourful and expressive as the handcrafted masks that they wore, the songs that they sung and the rhythms to which they danced, all of which defined by the people and the land from which they were torn away. It was only when slavery was abolished in 1838, that Africans were able to participate in public congregating of any sort, but the conditions for this were less than ideal. The European population was troubled by the deteriorating economic climate, which no doubt became an issue after their free labor force gained freedom. The African population took it upon themselves, perhaps as a symbol of their emancipation, or partly as a chance to engage in something that was formerly withheld from them, to congregate and express themselves as they saw fit, and so the beginnings of a National Carnival was formed. The social inclusion was not done amicably, and the so called “upper echelons of society” were vocal in their disenchantment. The African festivals were deemed lewd, immoral, and violent, and there was action to ban the Black population from celebrating in masquerades. The British government attempted to legislate and prohibit activities such as drumming, dancing, and carrying about torches (a major part of Canboulay). Now it seemed the black population was faced with repression in another form, but despite this, they persevered, and in 1881 they made some headway in an organized movement that eventually resulted in the recognition of their masquerade as a cultural expression of the Black population. There was still no end to the controlling hand of the government, as they placed numerous prohibitions on the festivities and it would take a long time, and a lot more objections until the dawn of the J’ouvert festival. J’ouvert emerged as a result of the restrictions of the Canboulay festivities, which had previously paved the way for African celebration on the island. Canboulay re-enacted the gathering of the slaves to extinguish cane fires in the night, so after emancipation, the freed men and women chose this as a symbol of their struggle, and it may be fair to credit Canboulay as the mother of Carnival. It allowed the slaves to have fellowship, and celebrate the solidarity of their African-ness. It was at these events, that they sung the songs of their homeland and made music with any object they could find. They masked themselves in the fashion of tribal culture, and they danced the way their ancestors did, albeit to the tune of a different drum.
Who You Callin’ Jamette? In a further attempt to demonstrate their “high moral compass” and “superiority” over the newly freed black men and women, the European population utilized the French word Diametre to describe the ‘carrying ons’ of the black community. Of course, like many other terms in Trinidad, the word has been transformed through various pronunciations and spellings into what is known today as “Jamette”. The Jamettes were considered to be at the bottom of society, their economic and social situation defined by extreme poverty, and desperation. According to the European occupiers, which included members of the French, British and meager Spanish population: the barracks and dwellings of the “Jamettes” were ripe with crime, prostitution and violence, activities which shocked and horrified them; because after all, the European class were only accustomed to acts that condoned indescribable greed, forcible confinement and torture coupled with the occasional rape, and genocide. A bit of drumming, hollering, ritualistic dancing, and singing indeed was too much to bear for the European settlers, so they labeled all African activities as intolerable, much like they did to the Native Indians throughout the new world, and those who engaged in such activities were the “Jamettes” of Society. Unlike their Spanish counterparts, who were the most notorious for their extreme brutality and ‘inquisition like’ methods of spreading ‘civilization’, laws and prohibitions were at the forefront of the English and French repertoires, and banning certain practices such as Canboulay, along with drumming and dancing did little to extinguish the cultural drive of the African population. So even though Canboulay was legally forbidden, the communal spirit was transferred to other festivities such as J'ouvert. Stick fighting, which is also thought to have emerged from Canboulay, also continued, and other forums for expression later emerged, for instance in the visual commentary of ‘ol mas’ and in the lyrics of the calypso.
To Fete or to Fret —
the Modern Carnival Dilemma The hardships faced today during the carnival season revolve around costume selection, and party socialization. The achievements, and cultural significance to the descended Africans in Trinidad and the Caribbean have long been forgotten, and some facts have even been confused along the way. The majority of people fail to connect with the real story behind the celebration despite its promotion in the localized and international community. Some critics, which indeed are few, argue that carnival has transformed into a meaningless, commercialized rave, with little creative expression and zero cultural purpose. Indeed some facts have even been skewed with popular here say of accrediting the Europeans with the “Greatest festival on Earth.” Although the majority of the Trinidadian population are descendants of Africans and East Indians, somehow Italians, Romans, and the Latin language get involved in historical explanations of the Festival’s origins, and the African influences seem to diminish in significance overtime. In fact, one could say there appears to be an agenda to de-Africanize the festival that has become the poster for all things Caribbean; wiping away the historical slate, either purposefully, or not, of all the struggles of the people that created this international celebration. While it is an event that unifies the people, it simultaneously isolates them from cultural tradition and significance, elements that compose the foundation of a strong society. So what does the future hold for the festival of fetes? It seems to be the consensus of a few that we have turned our backs quite literally on carnival, both as a historical and cultural gem; perhaps that could be the case... or perhaps that’s just ol’ talk.
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
The Miracle of
The cold dark winter months in Canada have subsided and summer is well on its way, so celebrate with visions of the Caribbean and all things warm and tropical, and what’s a better reminder than the taste and smell of a coconut. While it is undeniably synonymous with the tropical landscape, its greater importance lies embedded into the cultural, social and economic fabric of the Caribbean. The versatility of the coconut has been historically reflected in its naming by different cultures. In the Malay language, it is “pokok seribu guna” which translates to ‘the tree of a thousand uses’, and in the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the ‘Tree of Life’. The translated meanings reflect the usefulness that can be derived from nearly all parts of the palm, but the most useful product to our everyday life is the oil that is extracted from the copra. Copra is the dried meat of a mature coconut seed, which after processing yields coconut oil. Aside from being used to add flavor, texture and body to food, the oil is used extensively in the soap making, cosmetic and medical industries. Taking a note from its historical and cultural past, coconut oil continues to be used today for a variety of conventional and not so conventional applications. The consumption of coconut oil has been said to improve a variety of health conditions due to its antimicrobial, antifungal, detoxifying and antioxidant properties.
Advocates of the oil have claimed that ingesting it regularly can lead to the improvement of digestion and metabolism, stress levels and bone strength. Another probable application of coconut oil is for weight loss and in the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. These benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric and caprylic acid. There have been many debates on the benefits of ingesting the oil due to its fat content. It is strongly suggested that persons with any of the aforementioned conditions, as well as healthy individuals
consult a physician before any regimen is started . In addition, always test patch a small area of the body before using coconut oil as a topical treatment, this will ensure that you are not allergic to the product and that it is safe for you to use and enjoy.
When buying coconut oil, an important tip is to avoid the brands that are hydrogenated because their beneficial attributes are limited, and they can be dangerous in trans-fatty acids. Always purchase organic virgin coconut oil, because its manufacturing process allows the product to be closest to its natural state thereby providing the most health benefits. Organic virgin coconut oil is the purest form of the oil and has a distinctive smell and color. It is usually available at most health food stores around the GTA and at many Caribbean, South Asian, and Filipino stores.
Sore Throats The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil can help to remedy a sore throat when mixed with warm tea and honey.
Deodorant Coconut oil on its own can be used as a natural deodorant. It works as a perspiration and odor inhibitor.
Fungal Infections The oil contains strong antifungal agents, therefore it can be used to treat fungal infections like athlete's foot, ringworm, and vaginal yeast infections. You can ingest a tablespoon daily, or apply it topically for some of these conditions.
Sun screen Coconut oil provides effective and natural everyday sun protection. Using it on the body and face allows the skin to breathe while shielding it from harmful UV rays. It performs without any of the chemicals and toxins found in conventional sun block. People in South Asia have used it on the skin as sun protection for hundreds of years. Coconut oil protects against free radicals, and this could help reduce the chances of skin cancer.
Acne Some acne sufferers claim that ingesting the oil daily has reduced their acne flare ups. Due to the detoxifying effect of the oil in the body, it works to clear existing acne and limit future breakouts. Others claim that simply using it as a topical treatment improved their acne condition and reduced the appearance of acne marks and scars. It’s important to note that results have varied when using coconut oil to treat acne, with some reported incidents of it worsening the condition rather than improving it.
Facial Cleanser If you have sensitive skin, and/or particularly dry skin, it acts as a gentle cleanser that won’t strip the areas being cleansed. It's also a natural moisturizer, so it won't cause dryness or irritation. During the winter months try swapping it with your regular cleanser to keep skin hydrated and protected.
Exfoliation It can be applied to the body and face pre and post exfoliation. Gently massaging the oil into the area before the exfoliation process allows the dead skin cells to separate easily from the skin without damaging any healthy cells. By using it after, it works to sooth and moisturize. Lip Balm Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and by simply placing ¼ tsp. on the lips, every day, or when needed, chapped dry lips can be avoided. Try mixing it with honey for an extra moisturizing lip mask. Hair Conditioning Treatment Apply a liberal amount of coconut oil to your scalp and hair. Allow it to soak for several minutes and then wash as usual. It can also been used as an overnight moisturizing hair mask. The oil helps to smooth damaged hair and this promotes a healthier natural appearance which can lead to longer and more lustrous hair overtime.
Toothpaste Mix an equal amount of coconut oil and baking soda for an allnatural, fluoride-free toothpaste. Dandruff Twice weekly, massage it into the scalp and allow it to sit for a few hours to over night, then wash. It’s gentle enough for children as well as adults. Hand and Foot Care Apply the oil at night to cracked dry feet and hands. To amplify the results massage the areas for a few minutes and place your feet and hands into socks and gloves before you sleep. The oil can also be massaged into the cuticles and the nails to strengthen them, this increases the flexibility of the nails making them less prone to splitting and breakage. Cuts and Scarring It can be used as a topical agent for minor cuts and scrapes, protecting the area against infection and preventing permanent scarring.
* Always Consult a Doctor before trying any new Health or Beauty regimen.
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
There is a lack of consensus surrounding the “root” of the plant, and there are theories of origin ranging from Indo-Pacific to South American. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut palm is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, but there is evidence that its presence predates the arrival of the Europeans to the ‘New World’.
Did You Know ?
The coconut tree can be found throughout the tropics, and is dispersed between 26°N and 26°S with the exception of some African and South American interior landscapes.
A thousand mature coconuts weighing approximately 8,640 kilograms (19,000 lb) yields around 70 liters of coconut oil.
Apparently some 16th century Portuguese and Spanish authors agreed to identify the nut with the word “coco” meaning grinning face, grin, grimace. The name supposedly refers to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes.
The Southern Indian state of Kerala is named after the coconut tree. “Kera” meaning Coconut tree and “Alam” meaning Land, therefore its literal translation is "Land of Coconut Trees."
"He who plants a coconut tree plants food and drink, vessels and clothing, a home for himself and a heritage for his children"- South Seas saying
At the Annual competition “Celebrity Chef Men Who Cook,” sponsored by the United Achievers Club where guests came out on March 24th, for great food and fun. Our very own ‘Man in d’ Pot’ host, Chris De La Rosa won a medal for his Succulent Soca Pork Appetizer.
Column from top right: All the Chefs ready for friendly competition; Steven McKane, proud of his ‘McKane’s Deep and Delicious Chocolate Torte’;
Chefs being accompanied to their pavilion by some lovely ladies; Event program. Column from bottom left: Some Chefs having a blast; Delicious Tiramisu and Black cake; ‘Twisted Cajun Chicken Eh!’ submitted by Daniel Wright;
‘Succulent Soca Pork’ with home made Orange Pineapple and Mango Peach Sauce submitted by our very own Man in d’ Pot: Chris De La Rosa. Centre : Man in d’ Pot’s Chris De La Rosa serving up the crowds; Guests enjoying the food;
West) /MP Kyle Seeback with his ‘Extremely Wild Mushroom Risotto’. Ol Talk (Brampton Magazine March - May 2012
Recipes All recipes courtesy Caribbeanpot.com
Rice & Peas
*This recipe is Featured in Man in d’ pOT see iT On Ol Talk’s YouTube channel : Oltalkmagazine
Ingredients: 2 cups brown rice (not instant) 3 cups water 1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened) 2 cloves of garlic 2 scallions (sliced) 2 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh thyme 1 can red beans (kidney) 19oz 1 teaspoon salt Dash black pepper 1 medium onion diced 1/4 teaspoon allspice *1 whole hot pepper (scotch bonnet, habanero) * optional
Method: 1. Dice the onion and scallion and crush the garlic. 2. Place the oil in the pot, ensure the heat is at a medium temperature. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the onion, garlic, thyme and scallion. Allow this to cook on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. 3. Prepare the rice: place into a bowl and cover with warm water. Massage the rice, drain, and repeat a couple times until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the pot and stir well. 4. Drain and rinse the beans before emptying into the pot. Add the water, coconut milk, dash of black pepper, salt, allspice and the whole pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. 5. Allow to cook for about 25 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so, and pay close attention to the liquid level. If the liquid is drying out quickly, turn down the heat a bit. If after 20 minutes you find that the rice is plump, turn up the heat (remove the lid) and cook off any remaining liquid. Plate and serve.
Here’s a simple way to test the rice to see if it’s done: take a couple grains out of the pot and place on the counter top or in a side dish. Now gently press your fingers down and across the grain of rice. If there’s no solid texture (grainy feel), it means the rice is fully cooked. The last 10 minutes is crucial, since this is where you can control the desired texture of the rice. The combination of coconut milk and starch from the rice makes it very easy to go creamy and sticky. I like my rice grainy so I quickly burn off the liquid once I determine that the rice is fully cooked. Most times I under cook it (meaning the rice could use about 5 minutes additional cooking) then I remove it from the heat with the lid on. The residual heat in the pot continues to cook it until perfect. If you find that your rice is not fully cooked and your liquid is gone, simply add some boiling water to the pot and continue cooking.
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
Trinidad Style Stew Chicken Ingredients: 4-5 3/4 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 3 1 11/2 1/4 1 2 1 1 *1/4
lbs chicken – cut into serving size pieces teaspoon salt teaspoon Worcestershire sauce tablespoon ketchup cloves of garlic – thinly sliced or crushed teaspoon fresh ginger – crushed/sliced tablespoon vegetable oil (one that can withstand high heat) medium onion – chopped medium tomato – chopped tablespoon cilantro (or shado beni) chopped tablespoon brown sugar cups water teaspoon black pepper green onion or chive (scallion) – chopped sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried) lime or lemon or 3 tablespoons of vinegar small shallot hot pepper (only if you like your food spicy) If you can get Spanish Thyme (aka podina), use 1-2 medium leaves finely chopped in the seasoning.
Method: 1. Chop the onion, pepper, thyme, shallot, cilantro, tomato, garlic and scallion and set aside to marinate the chicken. 2. Cut, wash and place the chicken in a large bowl, squeeze the lime/lemon juice (or vinegar) on it, then add a few cups of water then wash. Try to remove as much fat and skin as you can. Rinse with a new batch of water and drain. Add the prepared seasoning, mix thoroughly and allow to marinate for a couple hours in the fridge. For best results, leave overnight. 3. On a medium to high heat, add the oil to a deep pan then heat. Add the sugar, and stir repeatedly until it starts to liquefy. As soon as the sugar turns a golden frothy colour add the meat and stir to coat all the pieces evenly. 4. Reduce the heat to medium/low, cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water to the remaining liquid from the meat marinade, and reserve in a bowl. Cover and allow to cook for about 15 mins. removing the lid every 5 mins. to stir. 5. After about 15 mins. remove the lid and increase the heat. Constantly stir the pot to avoid sticking. When all the liquid has evaporated add the water marinade mixture, stir and cook on medium heat for another 20-25 minutes (depending on how thick your pieces of chicken are) until done . Adjust for salt, and serve over rice.
When caramelizing sugar, you’re looking for small bubbles which will start going a bit frothy and transition from light to golden/dark brown. As soon as this happens start adding the seasoned chicken a few pieces at a time. Remember to stir constantly to ensure all the pieces get coated evenly. If you don't get that rich colour (browning wasn’t done right), add a few drops of bottled browning and/or soy sauce to give it some additional color. I like my stew chicken with a bit of gravy to pour over rice, but I hate it being too thin in consistency, so if after cooking for 20 minutes I find it a bit too runny, I remove the lid and turn up the heat to get it to the consistency I like (basically you’re reducing the liquid by about 75%).
Banana Fritters Ingredients: 3 1 1 1/2 1/2 2 1 3 *
very ripe bananas egg teaspoon vanilla extract teaspoon ground cinnamon cup sugar cups all-purpose flour tablespoon baking powder cups vegetable oil for frying powdered sugar (optional)
Method: 1. In large bowl, peel and cut the bananas into chunks, then mash using a fork or potato masher until smooth. 2. Whip the egg, then add the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Continue whipping until the sugar is dissolved. Add mixture to the mashed bananas. 3. Slowly mix in the flour and baking powder until you get a smooth consistency (without any lumps). 4. Heat the oil on a medium/high flame and add a tablespoon of the batter to the pan. After 1 min. flip and cook for an additional min. until golden brown. Once cooked you will notice that it will start floating in the oil. Remove and drain on paper towels. 5. Dust with the powdered sugar. Serve warmâ€Ś (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side) optional.
All recipes courtesy Caribbeanpot.com
Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012
Credits Cover - Stefan ‘The Hitman’ Urosevic. Pg.3 carnival, Keith London. Pg.7-11 C. Itza, KC Loewen; artifact, David Holt; Volcano Matua Island, John; lightning, Marcin Kargol; galaxy, johnny9s; hurricane, Wilma_Emilio Labrador; solar flare, NASA; Mayan Calendar, Ray Walker; Codex, Roberto Arias; signboard, epicbeer; masks, Chris. Pg.15 Woman smiling, orange and blue feathers, Keith London; Man with painted face, Men on stilts, Team@Carnaval.com Studios. Pg.16-18 Pink and Green Costumes, Fancy Costumes, Keith London; Devil, Team@Carnaval.com Studios; Man with Hat, 2 Girls Walking, Keith London. Pg.19-21 Coconut Shell, Chandrika Nair; Machine, Tracy Hunter; Coconuts, Luis Tamayo; Tree, Swaminathan. Pg.23 Roti, avlxyz; Pot, Javier Lastras. Pg.27 Armageddon, James Dale, David Moran, NASA Goddard.
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Ol Talk Magazine / March - May 2012