Introducing the Tines that Bind

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Hello! How are you this fine Sunday? It’s fine in The Bahamas anyway. And I have a little extra pep in my step thanks to the time change. You too? This extra hour will soon be lost in the whole ‘shorter day’ thing, but right now it’s making a world of difference.

Remember those times when I mentioned having a new project, and telling you about it eventually? That time is now haha. I’ve started a food blog! It’s called the Tines that Bind, and it explores the way food shapes place and relationships. You can imagine that the first part of my inspiration came because I love food. The second part came from loving this (Bahamian) landscape, this community, and wanting to make it real to non-Bahamians.

The Bahamas isn’t just a tourist destination. People – I – live the mundane and the frustrating and the joyful here too. I hope that in sharing recipes and talking about the everyday things that becomes clearer to readers around the world. Moreover, I consume a lot of food media and have often wondered where ‘my’ voice was in the conversation, why people weren’t talking about the food that I see around me and grew up eating. Initially I figured someone more qualified would get to it at some point, but then I realised since I was the one wondering I could also be the one writing!

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I went to an exhibition opening at our national art gallery over the summer. During the artists’ talk one of them said that there’s something about our (Bahamian/Caribbean) landscape that erases us as people in the psyche of everyone else in the world. That’s the poetic version of what I’m talking about. I felt people around me nodding in agreement, and I know at least one other person wrote his statement down. We want to feel seen, and taken seriously, and not just because we have lovely places for you to stay or have your destination wedding.

As I travel I plan to include food stories from the places I visit as well. The word tines refers to the prongs on a fork (or animals’ antlers) and in the bigger picture I’m thinking about how food is one of the great equalisers. We all have to eat! Whether we live in a powerful city or dreamy paradise. We all have different customs around preparing and eating food. I’m excited to learn some of these traditions and then share them on my blog.

So there you have it! The project I’ve been working on for the last few months. I hope you’ll go and check it out, and maybe become a follower! I still plan to write here, although I’m not sure what that’s going to look like in the long term. I do know that I love how easy and relaxing it is. On an ideal day, I wake up on a Sunday morning excited to write something, and then after an hour or so I’m done. I look for a photo from my gallery or on the web and then come back a few hours later to reread and post. Voila! TiB (Tines that Bind) isn’t nearly as simple. In fact, for any professional and/or veteran bloggers who may be reading, I’d appreciate any tips you have!

Have a great Sunday and a wonderful week. I hope to see you on the TiB side of things! 🙂

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Blender Banana Pancakes

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Photo by Herson Rodriguez on Unsplash

Today is a busy day! My first semester of teaching at the University of The Bahamas begins tomorrow, and there are a few things I’d like to take a look at and/or wrap up before the morning. I also want to work on my new project, and my mum has asked me for some help with a paper she’s writing. I’m going to go to church, and because my aunt’s birthday was on Friday I definitely don’t want to miss our Sunday family lunch. How will I fit it all in? (Not to mention this post.)

In spite of all that, my day always starts with breakfast. It’s Sunday, so I didn’t want to have a typical weekday meal. There were two overripe bananas chilling in our fruit basket and I thought hey, pancakes! This recipe is very quick, and delicious, and happens to be gluten-free in case you have an intolerance. It’s become my new go-to!

Ingredients
– 1/2 cup rolled oats
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– pinch of salt
– 2 overripe bananas, peeled and broken into halves or quarters
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
1. Pulse oats in the blender until they form a powder.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and mix until smooth.
3. Let the mixture rest for 10 – 20 minutes until it thickens. (I almost skipped this step this morning because the batter seemed thick enough, but I decided to use the time to check my email and plan my day.)
4. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop the batter onto a hot pan. Once you see a few bubbles forming on the surface, flip and cook the second side for 2-3 minutes, until brown.
5. Enjoy!

This recipe makes between 7 and 8 pancakes, which is 2 servings for me. I ended up having to make a small batch of regular pancakes for my uncle, and for those I used 1/2 an egg. I scrambled the other half (the white) to eat with my pancakes. They taste really scrumptious, and now I don’t have to worry about breakfast in the morning! I’m grateful to Alida from Simply Delicious for the original recipe, which I adapted slightly. I hope you give them a try. 🙂

Two Truths and a Lie

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My first few weeks of college were filled with orientation activities. I had to get to campus early for a week of sessions for international students, and after that went through the standard programmes for all incoming first years. I don’t know how many hundreds of people I met – literally, there was a huge game night called Playfair with everyone from our class – and I played countless icebreakers as leaders tried to get us comfortable and engaged. Two truths and a lie was one of them, and I thought I’d do a written version here just for fun. Can you spot the lie?

  • After I graduated from college I took a serious look at the disconnect between my real and imagined eating habits. I grew up in a household with a label-reading father, a salad-loving mother and a minimum of processed foods. I didn’t exactly throw the training they gave me out of the window when I left home, but after four years of free cookies and pizza at every school function, plus all the food I could eat at our d-hall, my diet was way out of balance. When I realised that the way I thought I was living was completely different from what was truly happening, I knew there needed to be a change. One of the habits I picked up was making green smoothies, which I still enjoy regularly today. They’re a bit time consuming though, so when I discovered that I could make a quick tonic with aloe vera gel from the plants growing in my backyard, that became part of my daily morning ritual. Aloe is such a super plant, I don’t know why it doesn’t get more attention!
  • When we were little, every day after school my siblings and I met a bowl of prepped fruit for us to snack on. I think my dad might have been the one to insist on this, but my mum was equally supportive of this structure as well. The fruit held us over until dinner time, and if we were feeling very hungry then we’d have something like bread or cheese, but there was no junk food in the house. Rarely, anyway. I remember many disappointing conversations with my dad, who did the grocery shopping, in the food store. I would plead with him for chips, cookies, lunchables, dunkaroos and whatever other cool thing I saw my classmates eating, to no avail. I continue to rely on fruit as a snack, and love all kinds. Bananas are one of my favourites, and because they are so cheap I found myself buying them all the time in graduate school and in New York. I ate a banana every day for 3.5 years, and the streak has only been broken since I’ve come back home.
  • Don’t let all this talk about fruits and veggies fool you – I enjoy plenty of sweets and treats, and am a big fan of food in general. I’ve always loved to bake, and after college got into cooking too. Most of the blogs I follow are food-related, as are the accounts in my insta feed, my go-to tv shows and a couple of my podcasts. When I was in New York I’d find myself easily losing an hour trying to choose a place to meet a friend for dinner or take a guest for lunch, and I enjoy picking apart the best and worst elements of the meals I’ve been served. You can imagine my thrill when I found out that one of the places featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives was down the street from my residence hall in graduate school. I lived in a small town in Connecticut, and this diner has been an institution since before I was born. I’ve had a few breakfasts there, including of course the amazing french toast that was featured on the show. Delish!