Holy Dumpling !!!


Fried dumpling is a Jamaican staple that is easy to make. It consists of four ingredients, all-purpose flour, baking powder, water and salt. Some variations add a pat of butter to the recipe while others substitute milk for water. Dumplings are a cheap way to bulk up a meal where flour is cheap and meat or fish expensive. Usually found at the breakfast table, along with fried ripe plantains, boiled green bananas and roast breadfruit, dumplings are torn apart with your fingers and used to sponge the  delicious gravy from saltfish (bacalao) cooked in coconut oil, rundown mackerel or corned beef with scotch bonnet peppers. This fried dough is brown and crispy on the outside but remains soft and chewy on the inside. Children love to split dumplings in half and spread grape jelly in the middle; it’s a sweet treat, especially with a hot cup of Milo or Horlicks.

Try this recipe at home; you’ll see for yourself how easy it is:

Jamaican Fried Dumpling


4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup vegetable oil for frying


1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time just until the mixture is wet enough to form into a ball. The dough should be a firm consistency. Knead briefly. The dough should not stick to the fingers when done.

2. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Break off pieces of the dough and shape into a patty – kind of like a flat biscuit. Place just enough of the dumplings in the pan so they are not crowded. Fry on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels before serving.



86 Happiness – A Fickle Emotion, Like a Vase of Carnations, Beautiful in the Moment, Unaware of its Inevitable Demise, as sure as Roots Separated from Earth.” Jomo Morris

The number “86” in kitchen lingo means to “be out of a particular menu item or ingredient.” Urban legend contends that the term originated from a famous New York speakeasy called Chumley’s. The bar was located at 86 Bedford Street, but had its entrance through an interior adjoining courtyard to provide privacy for its customers. The prohibition era, was the perfect petri dish for clandestine business activities, with government officials accepting bribes to allow bars like Chumley’s to keep the masses inebriated. If the police were planning a raid in that area, the bartender would be tipped off, at which point he could “86” his customers through the backdoor on Bedford Street, while the police were coming through the front courtyard.

Georges Blanc, wrote in his 1943 cookbook, ‘Ma Cuisine des Saisons’ that
“Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how; it comes from
the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep
love of food to bring it to life.”

In the trenches where it’s 8:30 pm and open warfare has been declared between hungry diners and line cooks working feverishly to keep them sated. Wrong time for poetry or romantic ideals, buddy! The tension is palpable, we’re communicating, shouting, moving, no time for laughter, focus, everything must be perfect.

Cooking professionally is like skiing a double diamond run like Alta Zero; it’s an adrenaline rush, a straight shot of B12 to the heart. But it also means that technique, repetition and precision guide every move. From sauté pan to plate each motor skill has been honed to create an economy of movement that conditions a cook to multi-task without thinking. Night after night, line cooks “86” happiness in their hearts because we have no place for it; might as well seal such sentiments in the center of an onion, a large purple one, with roots attached and crinkly brown parchment like skin.

Anyway who cares? Show me a happy line cook and I’ll show you a lazy one. And there’s a collective gasp, how could anyone be so mean? There is no ill intent, but great kitchens push and challenge the mettle of everyone who works there. Let me break it down for you, there is no place for complacency in the evolution of a cook. From cook to sous chef and eventually executive chef, there must be personal struggle, pain, sacrifice and a penance paid through years of hard work.

A happy cook is content, there’s no uncomfortable places in that kitchen, you know what’s coming, where’s the challenge? Where’s the catalyst forcing you to grow? I’ve never worked in a kitchen where knowledge, technique or prowess comes naturally or is given with tablespoons of patience. You make mistakes, take your licks, cower, cringe, get beat up by the chef, but you’ve also learnt how to fix the hollandaise when it’s broken. Learning in everyday workplace situations, that slow accumulation of knowledge that in time becomes wisdom is like fresh milk from cows. Sure you can drink it, but add rennet, heat it, strain the curds and wait. It’s milk that’s been transformed, yellow, sweet, salty, stinky, but infinitely better for its transformation.

“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go. -Anthony Bourdain”


“86 Happiness” Sidney (Sous Chef)