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… is she sanio’s rotiying these things about WWIB? Angry M.F. Fisher investigates. Trini to the bone I’m not. As a food writer of mixed Scots, Basque & Latvian heritage, I love the whole of New York City’s West Indian diaspora equally but— following up a recent comment by reader Amy— today I’ll speak about kindness, justice, faith & courage. While some folks take offense to the word “slang” when describing various Caribbean English dialects (including Yardie, Bajan, Guyanese, Grenadian, Antiguan & Vincentian) please know I have naught but the highest regard for the invention, poetry & humor of these island peoples & more. Indeed, such is my passion for the subject, I own as nearly as many slang dictionaries as I do cookbooks. While ya’ll would be very hard pressed to recognize the fact on ersatz Brooklyn’s (ofay, “luxury”) version of the internet, West Indian cuisine & its accompanying prosody is one of the absolute glories of life here. From the streets to the Skettionary & back again:

left hand dumpling: A meal of dumplings, which are made using the left hand and served by a woman in order to cast a spell over a man. This is of Tobagonian origin.

river duck: An extremely aggressive and intelligent family relative of the farmyard duck. Sly and ferocious, it dwells in the forests of Trinidad (not Tobago). Territorial, it will attack without hesitation and rip its victim to shreds with its tiny diamond-sharp incisors. Also known as the pitbull of the fowl kingdom.

sweat rice: A meal of rice, which a woman prepares when she wants to trap a man. The woman prepares this by squatting over steaming rice, and allowing her vaginal juices to “sweat” into the rice.

Zyczymy Smacznego notes: Those in Crown Heights, Flatbush, Canarsie, New Lots, Flatland, City Line, the awkwardly named but awesome Propsect Lefferts Gardens, as well as parts of Queens (South Ozone Park, South Jamaica, Richmond Hill) & the Bronx who have wondered why duck is so often on the msingh’s rotienu at Trinidadian joints & yet rarely available might now have their answer above: who would dare try to kill the fucker? Those who eke out a living on the harsh, rugged slopes of “Cobble Hill” or enjoy the post-benign ethnic cleansing version of “Carroll Gardens” (sic) might wonder when ya’ll get yours? Oh baby, if only!

Scorpion asks, again: did a single media outlet, print or web, publish a single word about, say, the short lived Jamaican take out joint on Van Brunt Street a few years ago? A quixotic venture, sure (Red Hook is often Latino, rarely West Indian) but still, one that somebody would have at least noted… right? As far as they “know,” there were never—never I say!!— any botanicas on Smith Street either.

WWIB is body surfing in Rockapulco today; “Who is Sweat Rice & Why…” was originally released on February 20, 2008. Rock on!

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