Afternoon in Crown Heights

As people who are attempting to be responsible citizens of the world in a time of Coronavirus, Chris and I have not been doing any travel domestically or internationally. Not to say that any country would want to accept us, but even if they did, it would just be really irresponsible and selfish of us to travel overseas. It’s really made me angry to see posts about people within my network and beyond it who just insist they need an “escape” and then travel to another country. You never need to travel; you want to travel, especially when it’s for a beach or to go snorkeling, NOT because your parent is dying. This period of COVID-19 truly has revealed the true depths of selfishness of some human beings. It’s really embarrassing to see this lack of humanity exhibited by a lot of people.

While we are not traveling, the mini type of traveling we have been doing is visiting neighborhoods beyond our own during the intense quarantine period of the last few months, whether they are in Manhattan or beyond. Today, we spent the afternoon in Crown Heights in Brooklyn and enjoyed Trinidadian food from a spot that had a very notably long line going out of it. It was cash-only, had no menu, and every single thing on offer looked absolutely delicious. I only have surface level knowledge of Trinidadian food given one one of my friends/former colleagues has roots in the Caribbean. We got this massive roti filled with a lamb curry and a chickpea curry, plus a little snack called “doubles,” which is like a fluffy roti that is stuffed with a chickpea curry. The texture of this bread was just mind-blogging – super fluffy, airy, but chewy and moist. The chickpea curry had a lot of similarities with Indian chickpea “channa” curries, but the flavor profile was a little bit different. After further research, I noticed that the type of spice/peppers used is different, plus there seems to be more thyme and allspice used, which I don’t see much of in Indian cuisine. The roti also felt flakier and dryer in many ways than the average Indian roti. It was incredibly addictive, and even though I was stuffed (we shared one!), I still wanted to keep eating it because it was so good.

There’s so much to learn about different regions of the world, and so many have overlapping characteristics given patterns of migration, colonization (oh, British colonization…), and oppression. The more I think about it, the more and more grateful I am to live in a city as eclectic and diverse as New York. I have pretty much anything I want from a wide variety of cuisines available to me — as long as I am willing to walk or take a subway ride there. Not everyone is that fortunate.

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