Listen and Cook: Jamaican Rice and Peas
Listen and Cook: Alexis’s Jamaican Rice & Peas

As a proud Jamaican American, Jamaican food is my specialty. I don’t have many stand-out talents, but cooking and eating I can do pretty well. I am extremely grateful to my grandmother, mother, and Auntie Camille for passing their curiosity and passion for cooking on to me. Over the years, we have spent many hours seamlessly maneuvering around each other’s kitchens, sweating, tasting, and grinning with pride over delicious home cooked Jamaican meals. We call what we created together “love meals”. Each bite contains more than just rich flavors. These meals fill my belly and soul with so much love, healing, and belonging.

During COVID-19, like so many others, I took to cooking elaborate meals to pass the time. Although I could not be with my family, the scents of onions, garlic, allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, and thyme made me feel incredibly close to them. Luckily, I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and have access to a lot of the traditional ingredients. My favorite recipe has been my grandmother’s Rice and Peas. The creaminess of the coconut milk and the spiciness makes this dish so comforting and pairs easily with any main dish or can be enjoyed alone. Also, perfect for summer barbecues!

As I spent many hours in my kitchen, dreaming of Jamaica and my family, I found myself filling the emptiness with audiobooks and cooking YouTube videos. My favorites have been How to Love a Jamaican, My Sister the Serial Killer, and The Stars and the Blackness Between Them. I also love YouTuber The Jamaican Cooking Journey – there is no glitz or glam in Sandra’s cooking videos, but listening to her Patois and seeing her kitchen immediately transported back to days and nights with my family in Jamaica.

Hear clips from Alexis’s kitchen listens!

“A talented cast, including Janina Edwards, Adenrele Ojo, Dominic Hoffman, and James Fouhey, creates the rich tapestry of these lives with their voices…From story to story, listeners hear the hopes and heartbreaks of families separated by distance and regret.”—AudioFile

“Adepero Oduye narrates this audiobook as though it were written for her. Speaking in short, pithy chapters, full of sarcasm and self-loathing, she embodies Korede.”–AudioFile

“Like Toni Morrison, who redrew the narrative of black experience with novels set in Midwestern small towns, Petrus is redrawing a map, creating an Eden where Caribbean, black, and LGBT culture can find beauty and lushness, spirituality, history and sustenance.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune