Eating Authors: R. S. A. Garcia

7 comments Written on September 8th, 2014 by
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R. S. A. Garcia

I have a really blessed life. I don’t acknowledge that often enough, either to myself, my loved ones, or the wider world. And I should, because one of the things remembering how good I’ve got things does, is it reminds me to share that good fortune, spread it around both deliberately and unconsciously. Or in terms probably more familiar to the readers of this blog, to pay it forward. I’ll definitely be setting aside some time today to do more of that.

In the meantime, let me tell you about this week’s guest. R. S. A. Garcia published her first novel, Lex Talionis, back in February of this year to a starred review in Publishers Weekly and some inspiring praise from other authors. Beyond that though, I don’t have much to tell you about her other than she lives in Trinidad and likes dogs (and really, that last bit is all that I need to know). I’m happy to have her here, and looking forward to what she’s going to write next.

LMS: Welcome, Rhonda. I’m excited to hear what you consider to be your most memorable meal.

RSAG: I’m from the Caribbean, where having meals together is the first way we express love for friends and family. So trying to pick out one best meal ever seemed like an impossible task with all the memories I had to sort through. That’s completely leaving aside the wonderful restaurant experiences I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. However, there is one meal I can never duplicate again.

My grandparents are actually not Trinidadian, although all their children are. They’re Grenadian and my family in Grenada is pretty large. When I was a child, around 8 or so–I can’t remember my age for sure–my grandmother took me along for a visit to her family, which included her 11 grown brothers and sisters and their children, as well as several half brothers and sisters she kept in touch with. We went from house to house, and I spent a lot of time playing with my cousins and touring the countryside with my family.

So you can imagine how I felt when my grandmother announced we were going to spend a few days with my uncle, who lived alone with his wife in a house with no television. I thought I would be bored to death without other kids to play with.

It wasn’t until I got there that I realised that my uncle’s house stood right next to a beautiful, clear, cold river.

I have always loved water. And this river was so clear and fast-running, my uncle and the nearby villagers bathed in it every day, sometimes several times a day. I spent hours splashing around and discovered that the river itself was full of fish and crayfish, a much smaller fresh-water cousin of the lobster.

Lex Talionis

One day, my uncle decided he wanted crayfish for dinner. I was up for it as soon as he told me I’d have to catch the crayfish with him. We went out into the river, stood up to our knees in the cool water and took turns standing stock still and then grabbing. My uncle was much better at it than I, but I was stoked that I managed to catch a few crayfish myself. It was the first time I had ever caught my own dinner.

We went back to the house and my uncle boiled them in salted water and then melted some butter and served huge slabs of homemade bread his wife had baked just that morning, as she did every morning. (My uncle was a huge bread lover.)

I had never had a simpler meal. Just fresh caught seafood, butter and bread. It was divine. Subtle flavour, like a crab, with that delicious, fresh bread, soft in the middle and crusty on the outside. My uncle was so gratified by how much I enjoyed it, we ate it practically every day while my grandmother and I stayed with him. It became our little ritual, trekking out to the river just before sundown and plucking the crayfish from it and tossing them into a bucket. As it turned out, my uncle ended up being my favourite playmate that entire visit.

Both my uncle and my grandmother passed a while ago, but I still have this amazing memory of all of us sitting around a kitchen table, cracking red shells and dipping white crayfish into golden pools of butter while laughing and talking.

I know I’m going to see them again someday.

And I bet you anything we’re all going to sit down together again, and the food’s going to be out of this world.

Thanks, Rhonda. I want a Grenadian uncle like that! We should all have one.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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7 comments “Eating Authors: R. S. A. Garcia”

Hi! Thanks for having me. And yes, we could all use family that simple and caring. Glad I could call him my uncle.

As a fellow West Indian, I feel a great sense of nostalgia after reading this. Congratulations on the success of Lex Taliones!

Wonderful post! That is what dinners are for; getting together with family and enjoying time with family. We in North America, don’t do it enough. It’s gulp the food down and run. Beautiful memory, Rhonda. 🙂 

Rhonda, congrats on Lex. I remember reading that way back in the critique group. Loved it. As to the crayfish, I had my first taste when we moved to Texas. It’s a big deal in Louisiana, and they have a lot of crawfish/crayfish boils here. Good stuff. 

Thanks, Tonya! I’m glad you enjoyed a bit of home 🙂

Hi Giacomo! Thanks! I know they love crayfish down there too. Wish I could get more of it to be honest. The ones that live in my country are very, very small and nowhere near as nice as the Grenadian ones. 

Hi Darke! Thanks! Yeah, that’s a modern thing, I realise. We still do the evening meal and Sunday’s , but Saturdays are out the window now, and there’s more buying of food than cooking sometimes. Pity we sometimes end up sacrificing the good life in order to pay for it.


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