Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans おばあちゃんのブラウン・シチュード・カウ・スキンとブロードビーンズ

We then got down to the real food business. When I brought up the topic, Julius went “Oh my God.” He admitted that like Clive and Vasiana in the interviews before his – Stew Peas with White Rice and Curried Goat were among two of his favourite dish, if not his two favourite dishes. To avoid getting into a debate about whose Stew Peas experience was the best, we quickly moved onto to talking about Julius’s comfort food. Julius began to reminisce on what truly was his comfort food. This was his grandma’s “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans and White Rice.” A close second was Tripe and Beans. (The tripe was cooked with either broad or butter beans).

His parents did not often cook his comfort food “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans.” Maybe they were teaching him one of life’s true lessons that you will not always get what you want in life even if this is the thing that gives you greatest comfort or perhaps he unknowingly might have let slip that grandma’s “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” was the bomb. To get his reward, to hit that comfort spot, to get that solace – he had to travel almost 40 km west of his high school or about 30 km west of his home. This became his Thursday ritual – without fail. Come rain, come storm, no matter what – Julius had to visit grandma for his weekly fix. Knowing that her grandson would make the trek without fail, she never disappointed him.

Now, I bet most of you did not know that Jamaica once had a passenger rail service. Back then, the train was a much quicker and cheaper way to get to Spanish Town from Kingston. Do not be too hard on yourselves. Jamaica was one of the first countries in the world to get a railroad network outside the USA and England. Passenger railroad travel began in 1845 between Kingston and Spanish Town and ended in 1992. Many Jamaicans do not know about this service especially those who were born in the 1980s onwards. Julius however revelled in the train rides he would take on Thursdays from Kingston to Spanish Town (Jamaica’s first capital before Kingston became the capital in 1872). When he got to Spanish Town he then had to catch a bus to get to his grandmother’s place.

He would race from KT on a Thursday afternoon to get to the rail station (terminal) located at the corner of West and Pechon Street in downtown Kingston. He knew if he missed his train it would have been a week of deep, deep regret. All along the journey, Julius salivated. He could picture his grandmother cooking his soul food. He could smell his grandma’s “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” wafting through the air in his imagination on the train. He could taste the delicately flavoured “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” melting on his tongue like butter against the sun. It was celestial. It was heavenly. It was from a completely foreign constellation. A stellar constellation yet to be discovered because it is beyond our universe. Beyond our mortal world. His grandmother had him trapped. He was hooked.

Cooking the perfect “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” is more than an art. It is much greater than food science. It is as much a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation as it is a gift. His grandmother possessed a gift like no other. Her “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” was so amazing… that all he could think about was for Thursday to come as quickly as it possibly could.

His grandmother would get the freshest and best cow skin. She would scrape (remove) the inner linings and wash it well. Then burn the hair off over an open gas flame. She would then scape both the inside and outside of the cow skin a final time. (Prior to this she would wash and soak her broad beans to help it cook well, if she was using the dried beans instead of the canned beans). After that she would season the cow skin with escallion, onion, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, pimento, salt and a dash of soy sauce. This would marinate for at least an hour for the cow skin to fully absorb the seasoning. When the flavours were fully marinated into the cow skin, it was ready for browning in coconut oil. This helped to caramelise the cow skin and in so doing gave it a rich potpourri of tantalisingly good taste. This was a very key step in cooking the perfect “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans.”
Julius and I then went off on a tangent to chit-chat about the simple lifestyle of the good old days. Back then, we would go to the corner shops to buy a quarter loaf of bread, a big gill of coconut oil (213 ml), a stick of butter, some chicken back wrapped in brown paper. A pound of flour, rice or cornmeal all wrapped in brown paper. Those days we recycled everything.

After painstakingly removing the seasoning to brown (caramelise) each cut of the cow skin, grandma would then add them all back in the pot along with the marinate (that was used to season the cow skin) and the broad beans. The pot was then covered and the flame was reduced to allow for the cow skin to slow cook until it was very soft and tender. All along the sweet aroma from the pot would permeate the air. The flavours were as tempting as they were tantalising. Julius had to muster up all the will power he had to remain patiently until grandma bellowed dinner was ready. This was torture to the extreme. “Why did it have to take so long?” – His inner thoughts would keep tugging at him. When dinner was final served, it was a stark reminder of why he was compelled to make his weekly Thursday sojourn all the way to Spanish Town when he could have easily gone home for Stew Peas – a Thursday staple in 99.99% of all Jamaican homes. Why?

We then veered off topic once again. Apologies for the digression. We soon got back on the topic of Julius’s soul food. Even to this very day, there is nothing like the slow life to Julius. He enjoys passing the day slowing in his backyard with some beer over the barbeque grill and you guessed it. Every now and then, he treats his taste buds to some home cooked “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” and freshly steamed white rice. Julius and I then digressed once again to stew peas which he equally agrees is Jamaica’s true soul food. In fact, back in 1992 the Jamaica Gleaner had declared Stew Peas as the national soul food of Jamaica.

As it would have been remised of me, I tried to get Julius to do a rendition in our interview but he promised one better. Being a true professional he would not have ‘buss a tune’ [sing a song] without a proper rehearsal. Here is the link to one of his earlier recordings which he had done in his first year of college.

Julius wholeheartedly believes that like Clive, Vasiana, and the Jamaica Gleaner stew peas with white rice is a favourite of many if not most Jamaican. He strongly believes that until you have had stew peas (especially a very good home cooked pot), you have not yet had the real Jamaican food experience. But he was quick to add that no trip to Jamaica or to a Jamaican home or restaurant can be truly considered the real Jamaican experience until you have had a dish of gummy “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” and freshly steamed white rice. This experience is beyond words. It will take you to another realm. Another time and space. It will take you to ecstasy.

Towards the end of our delightfully pleasant conversation, Julius then let me in on a little secret. He told me had some cow skin in his refrigerator which he was planning to cook in the next few days. He had agreed to taking some photos of it. But in my follow-up talk with him, he admitted that he got so carried away at paying due respect to it, that he had completely forgot to take the photos.

So when you visit Jamaica, you must ask for stew peas, but more importantly you must experience the real Jamaica comfort food. If you don’t Julius ‘ah guh vex wid mi bad’ [will be very upset and disappointed with me]. ‘Suh ask fi’ [So ask for] “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” and freshly steamed white rice, please. Admittedly, this is also my mother’s comfort food she would make a mean stew but I would not dare clash with Julius over whose “Brown Stewed Cow Skin with Broad Beans” is tastier – his grandma’s or my mother’s. We might need to leave that up to you to decide.

Interviewed and Written by Radcliffe Lennox
Translated by Shiho Owada
Reviewed by Shuji Kamimoto

それからようやくジュリアスと私は本題の食べ物の話をしました。私がその話題を持ち出すと、ジュリアスは “Oh my God “と言いました。彼は、以前のインタビューでクライブやヴァシアナが言っていたように、ステュー・ピーズと白ご飯、カリーゴート(ヤギ肉のカレー)が、彼の好きな料理の一つであることを認めていました。誰のステュー・ピーズが一番美味しかったかという議論にならないように、私たちはすぐにジュリアスの癒しのご飯の話に移りました。それはおばあちゃんの “牛の皮のブラウンシチュー、ブロードビーンズと白ごはん “でした。僅差の2位は「牛もつと豆の煮込み」でした。(牛もつはブロードビーンズかバタービーンズのどちらかで調理されていました)

彼の両親はあまり”牛の皮のブラウンシチューと豆の煮込み”の料理をしませんでした。もしかしたら、両親は彼に、人生の真の教訓の一つである、たとえそれが最大の安らぎを与えてくれるものであったとしても、人生で欲しいものが手に入るとは限らないということを教えていたのかもしれませんし、知らず知らずのうちに、おばあちゃんの “牛の皮のブラウンシチューとブロードビーンズ “が爆弾だったことを口にしてしまったのかもしれません。彼はご褒美を手に入れるために、通う高校から西へ40キロ、自宅から西へ30キロ近くを旅しなければなりませんでした。これが彼の木曜日の儀式でした。雨が降ろうが嵐が来ようが、どんなことがあろうが、ジュリアスは毎週おばあちゃんのところに行ってこのご飯を食べなければなりませんでした。孫が必ず来ることを知っていた彼女は、彼を失望させることはありませんでした。


彼は木曜日の午後、キングストンのダウンタウンにあるウェスト通りとピチョン通りの交差点にある鉄道駅(ターミナル)に着くために、KTから猛ダッシュで走って通いました。もし列車に乗り遅れたら、一週間おばあちゃんのご飯が食べられないことに後悔することになるだろうと思っていました。旅の間中、ジュリアスはよだれがとまりませんでした。彼は祖母が自分のソウルフードを料理している姿を思い浮かべました。列車の中では、おばあちゃんの「牛の皮の茶色い煮込みと豆の煮込み」の匂いが想像の中で漂っていました。繊細な味付けの “牛皮のブラウンシチューとブロードビーンズ “は、彼の舌の上で太陽に照らされたバターのように溶けていくのを味わうことができました。天国のようでした。

完璧な「牛皮のブラウン煮込みとブロードビーンズ」を作ることは、芸術以上のものです。それは食品科学よりもはるかに偉大なものです。それは贈り物であると同様に、世代から世代へと受け継がれる伝統料理です。彼の祖母は他に類を見ない才能を持っていました。彼女の “牛の皮のブラウンシチュー “はとても素晴らしかった…彼の頭の中には木曜日が早く来るようにとしか考えられませんでした。

彼の祖母は新鮮で最高の牛の皮を手に入れていました。祖母は皮の内側の裏地をこすり落としてよく洗っていました。そして、毛をガスの直火で燃やします。その後、おばあちゃんは最後に牛の皮の内側と外側の両方を削ります。缶詰の豆ではなく、乾燥させた豆を使っている場合は、その前に豆を洗って浸しておきます。その後、牛の皮に青ネギ、玉ネギ、中国しょうゆ、タイム、ピメント、塩、醤油を少々加えて味付けをします。これを1時間以上漬け込み、牛の皮が調味料を完全に吸収するようにします。味付けが牛の皮に完全に浸透したら、ココナッツオイルで焼き色をつけます。そうすることで、牛の皮がカラメル状になり、濃厚な味の凝縮になります。これが、完璧な “牛皮のブラウンシチューとブロードビーンズ “を作るための重要なステップでした。





ジュリアスはクライブ、ヴァシアナ、ジャマイカ・グリーナー紙のように、ステュー・ピーズと白ご飯は多くのジャマイカ人に愛されていると心から信じています。彼はステュー・ピーズを食べるまでは、本当のジャマイカ料理を経験したことがないと強く信じています。しかし彼は、ジャマイカへの旅行やジャマイカの家やレストランで、蒸したての白米を煮込んだコラーゲンたっぷりプルプルの “ブラウン・シチュード・カウ・スキンとブロードビーンズ “を食べるまでは、本当の意味でのジャマイカ体験とは言えないと付け加えました。この経験は言葉では言い表せません。それはあなたを別の領域に連れて行ってくれるでしょう。



文章 ラドクリフ レノックス
翻訳 大和田志保
校閲 神本秀爾

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