Back in March, during a frightfully short trip to Trinidad, I accomplished one of my short term goals: acquire a tawah.
This tawah for me, is part of my enforced liberation from bad roti experiences when outside of Trinidad. This consists of course in learning how to make roti. I’ve gotten the curry part down… it’s the paratha that is the hardest of course.
I tried buying skins from the super markets here locally, but O.H. G.E.E.D.! NASTY! When they weren’t showing mould in the supermarket freezer and hence un-purchasable, they were not very pleasant when eating.
So I determined the solution was to get a tawah and just practise how to make them until I got it right. however, acquiring a tawah in Barbados is not an easy prospect… this is not really tawah country if you feel me.
So after the horrors of trying to get my passport, I got the tawah literally minutes before heading to the airport to return to Barbados. It was fairly cheap too, $130TT and although I am still seasoning it, and learning how to work with it, it’s supported my first efforts admirably.
The coffee pot & rolling pin are other but connected stories. A few months ago, I stupidly broke the carafe for my coffee machine. Since I couldn’t afford to buy another just yet, I started boiling my coffee.
I LOVE boiled coffee. There’s a flavour and taste you get with it, you don’t get with the electronic coffee machine made coffee. Not quite sure what it is. The only problem with boiling coffee (if you’re me) is if that the saucepan you use doesn’t have a lip or an easy pour system, you end you either having to ladle it out, or pour it out through a strainer and it creates a bit of a mess, even with practise.
So about two weeks ago, I was talking to my grandmother on the phone and I asked her if she still had this old aluminum percolator I remember from my childhood. She said she remembered the one I meant, it was my great-grandmother’s and came from Trinidad with her in the early 80s, but that she was sure she had given it away a long time ago.
I had previously asked her for and got a fantastic rolling pin, also my great-grandmothers and one of the last of the treasure that came out of the kitchen cupboards of 52, Gallus Street, Woodbrook. I wanted the rolling pin to help me with my whole adventures with flour I’ve been having recently… bake, roti skin, rolled biscuits etc.
A day or so later, my grandmother called and told me that what she DID find–even BETTER–was a coffee pot, very similar to the one I remembered, that my grandfather had bought in the late 1940s. It had a basket that sat at the top of a long cylindrical stand with a concave circular plate on the bottom. The plate has a hole, and you put your coffee in the basket, put the whole thing down into the tall wide-bottomed coffee pot and turn on the stove at the lowest flame (so it doesn’t bubble out the elegant spout).
This coffee pot I remember from drinking coffee with my grandfather in the morning when I was a little girl. It would sit on the stove and it’s what he’d pour my coffee out of into the little espresso cup for me.
So to have this little piece of my past, of my Egun, my grandfather with me as I perform the morning ritual, is a wonderful experience.
At any rate, I have all I need now to ride out from here. With my tawah and rolling pin I can ultimately learn how to make roti the way I LOVE it. With my coffee pot, I will always have a way to get my ‘git up and go’ in the morning. I can go anywhere and be comfortable now.
It’s a great feeling when you have the tools you need to recreate the essential foods 🙂
when my carafe broke I started using a cafetiere, which is not bad, but boiled coffee brings back memories! The parents had a pot with a nice spout.
Why did it take me 2 years to get a Tawah? Cuz the only hardware store near family in St James kept flipping closing every time I would try to stop by during a trip home. I am glad you got yours and are perfecting your roti recipe. My tawah has been cold for too long. I need to really oil it down and get crackin'! I also would love to get a Turkish coffee pot….or maybe a Vietnamese one.