Keeper Arnett Howard
Musician, Author, Music Historian
Panelist: Cookbook-Keepers Seminars
Ohio's Envoy to Jamaica
Keeper Howard, while born in Yankee country, West Virginia,
and raised, educated and cheered for his musical accomplishments
in Ohio, is a major booster for all things Jamaican ...the music,
the food, the sunsets, the smoked marlin, the rum. reggae and
Some folk safari. Arnett does coffee. Envoy Howard targets a
Jamaican-only coffee bean as prime reason for his island affection...
"the Blue Mountains are as close to heaven as I've been...one visit
was to meet Gordon Langford...his company, Langford Brothers,
has thirty acres of coffee they raise in the Blue Mountains and we
talked coffee, ate the beans, drank the fresh roast, had coffee desserts
and closed with coffee liqueurs..."
Arnett Howard is a repeat visitor, possibly drawn to the sun and
sand worship of seven miles of white sand Negril beach. Proximity
to Blue Mountain coffee and curried goat may have influenced this
choice as his favorite cookbook...
His Fave Keeper:
Authentic Recipes from Jamaica
Recipes and text by John DeMers
Additional essays by Norma Benghiat
Photography by Eduardo Fuss
Published by Periplus Editions
World distribution by Tuttle Publishing
In the hemisphere of north and south America, there are two locales
that draw beginning food writers: New Orleans and Jamaica. In the
last century it seemed every other Big Easy tourist came away with
a portable typewriter and intent to put purloined recipes to paper. Creole
was something new to Maude and Roscoe when they returned to Fargo,
or some such frozen tundra. Their one-stop Po Boy and crawfish gumbo
recipe may find ink when their church publishes a charity collection.
Beyond that...well, you get the picture.
Early in this fresh century the same is taking place for tourists exiting
Jamaica. Google for numbers of Jamaican cookbooks - 500,000-plus
results. Non-Jamaicans with a laptop and return airfare all fly over or
around Cuban airspace keyboarding notes about being near Blue
Mountain, drinking Red Stripe lager and the mango chutney in their
first and only time for smoked marlin salad. So much for touristy Jamaican.
Meet the pros: DeMers, Benghiat and Fuss....
The jacket copy is as succinct as to what is inside on those 112 pages: Create
the best of Jamaican flavors -- Ackee and Saltfish, Pepperpot, Smoked
Marlin Salad, Jerk Pork or Chicken and Callaloo Quiche -- using the
easy-to-follow recipes featured in this book.
Jamaica is a lush island with five centuries of jangled cultures that, as of today,
survived privateers, slavery, trashy tourists, pot turf wars, earthquakes,
diseases brought in by invaders, Spanish colonization (1509-1655) and the
British (1655-1962). Over the decades since the 1940s woozy tourists from
the States returned with muddled recipes of what they experienced during
quick visits to a Caribbean island impaired somewhat by cheap street rum.
American troops stationed in Jamaica during World War II were mostly
Signal Corps personnel. They staffed radio and weather stations and patronized
rum peddlers who sold pours from jugs...pours into GI canteens. Dime pours
were available on every Kingston corner. But, to digress...
Trumpet Man Arnett Howard, right, blows some cool
during his jamming at the Tree House in Jamaica...
At last, that muddled mass of wonderful raw food product has been brought
under control. Welcome to New Orleans food writer John DeMers in concert with
photographer Eduado Fuss. They are not tourists when it comes to Jamaica.
DeMers is a heavily credentialed food writer -- 13 books worth. Fuss film
credits range from The New York Times and Smithsonian to travel shoots
for food related magazines. Studies of food styling and photography, in
this case by a highly skilled newspaper shooter, says Fuss work in this
book is the finest he's ever judged.
Possibly, one may add, because he
was shooting in a lush land with the most to offer when it comes to light,
color, shape and variety. Ah, Jamaica...
Arnett Howard before he was old enough
to drink coffee, toot the trumpet or run for mayor of Columbus...