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How to Eat a Jamaican Patty

The patty is probably the best known fast food in Jamaica. This meat- or sometimes vegetable-filled meat pie is favored by rich and poor, young and old – for lunch, or a snack or sandwiched between a coco bread, a soft buttery roll, a meal.

Said to be a direct descendant of the Cornish pasty, the Jamaican patty is made most often with beef, which is enclosed in a

Jamaican Patty

Jamaican Patty

flaky shell that has been brushed with egg yolk or tumeric, depending on the baker, to give it a reddish-yellow color.

The patty has evolved over the years and now comes in a variety of fillings – chicken, shrimp, lobster, fish, vegetable, callaloo, ackee and cheese. Beef, though, still remains the favorite.

Patty is big business, with as you can imagine, hundreds of patty shops around the island and in Jamaican communities abroad. Many popular eateries, like Juici Beef here, began as patty shops. (Juici Beef is now in all fourteen parishes and has a factory in Canada. Tastee, another popular patty place has several locations on the island and distributes in the Caribbean.) Golden Krust, which started in New York and now has about 120 franchises in the U.S. credits a substantial portion of its revenue to patty sales. It now supplies patties to Wal-Mart, the New York Public Schools, and correctional facilities.

There’s an art to eating a patty. Fresh from the oven, it is hot enough to cause burns. In fact, some restaurants in New York, display a sign right above the patty oven to warn customers.

My preference is to let the patty cool a bit before digging in. But usually by the time I reach for a patty, I’m quite hungry and maybe because I’m hungry, I think I convince myself that my hunger will insulate my tongue. No such luck. I’ve been burned several times!

A friend of mine opens hers up so the filling can cool faster, then she eats it with a knife and fork.

So the key to eating a patty, is to take your time. And if you’ve made a patty-coco bread sandwich or, as we used to call it in high school, a coco-pat, go even slower — the coco bread doesn’t cool the patty down any faster.

If you’ve had a Jamaican patty, do share your tips for eating it.

Soulful Sundays: JC Lodge

Born June Carol Lodge in London, England in 1958 to a Jamaican father and British mother, JC Lodge was taken to Jamaica as a child. She’s probably best known for her international hit, Telephone Love.

JC Lodge, image from the internet

JC Lodge, image from the internet

An accomplished artist and actress, Lodge recorded more than 12 albums. She returned to live in the UK in 2001.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey

I love the word journey. It suggest so much more than a trip, tour, travel or visit. Each place I visit is a new journey, a new opportunity to explore and learn something about the people who live there, their language, culture and way of life, etc.

Because journey is such a strong word, I knew that it had to be part of my blog name, InsideJourneys. And when I saw that it was the theme for this week’s Photo Challenge at WordPress, I had no doubt that I’d have plenty of suitable photos to choose from.

Bus at Robben Island

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey - Bus at Robben Island

This bus got it right: We’re on this journey together.

Virgin airline

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey - Virgin airline

A journey of a thousand miles….

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey - Ships in Montego Bay

Canoes in Falmouth, Jamaica

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey - Canoes, Falmouth, Jamaica

Life is a journey.

End of the journey, Zimbabwe

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey - End of the Journey, Zimbabwe

This is my entry to the Weekly Photo Challenge organized by WordPress.

Travel Photo Thursday: Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee

Famous internationally since the 18th century, Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee, which gets its name from the location where it is grown, is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. The rich soil and cool climate of the mountain, make it the ideal location for coffee growing. It is strictly regulated.

Jamaica's Blue Mountain

Jamaica's Blue Mountain

Only coffees grown in the higher elevations — between 3,000-5,500 feet — can bear the Blue Mountain label. Between 1,500-3,000 feet, it is known as Jamaica High Mountain, and below 1,500 feet, Jamaica Low Mountain or Supreme.

Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee

Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee

After I took this photo, I heard voices and looked in the direction where the sound was coming from. There were at least two people, each wearing floppy hats with bags strapped around their waists. As they released the berries from the trees, they dropped them into their bags. I watched for a few minutes, fascinated at how adroitly they navigated the side of the mountain without falling. Did I say how steep the mountain is? At this point, we’re about 4,000 feet. It’s almost a vertical drop.

Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee

Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee

Following handpicking, the berries are then floated in water to remove those that are underdeveloped or have been damaged by insects. They are inspected then washed again, to remove the sugary substance on the outer section of the beans, and dried. Following the drying process, the beans are bagged and warehoused for at least 10 weeks.

Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee beans

Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee

They are then hulled to reveal the bean which are polished and sorted according to size. They are also tested for taste, body and color. The last step is an inspection by hand to check each bean for defects.

1737, Jamaica exported over 83,000 pounds of coffee.

Approximately 7,000 farmers cultivate coffee in Blue Mountains, about 40% of them are women.

Japan was the largest importer of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee however, since the economic downturn, they no longer take the bulk of the crop, approximately 80%.

Average price of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee:

In the US – $48

In Japan – $62

Average payment to a farmer for a 60-pound box of berries: J$3,000 or about US$35.

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.