I don’t know how many other Caribbean Islands have a custom as lovely as our Crucian Prayer Breakfast. These are held for such unholy purposes as fundraisers for politicians and to bless candidates who are lying through their teeth in order to deceive the public and get reelected. Occasionally, they are held for good purposes such as the one I attended this past Saturday.
I am on the Steel Workers Scholarship board which is a Union endeavor at self help among the members to give their children scholarships to help defer the cost of college. Every year, I get to meet a half dozen very bright and sincere children who are working so hard to make it, I am sure that they would succeed without our help but they are so young that they don’t understand how strong they are so they always thank us and even come back years later to thank us again.
Since awarding scholarships is a seasonal occupation, we only meet from January to June. One of the nicer customs of this harmonious group is to start each year with a prayer breakfast which combines prayer, camaraderie and food as we discuss the coming year. Since most of us have been doing this for a decade, the administrative procedures have been stabilized so the focus is on the children as it should be.
Regardless if the purpose is good as in helping children succeed or evil as with politicians using the event to deceive the public, the food is always excellent and the offering differs from event to event.
The plate of food pictured above is what I started with and yes I had seconds. The numbers around the edge of the plate are approximately the position of a clock and the descriptions below correspond to the numbers in the picture.
1. Salt-fish Gundy. This is well washed salt-fish ground or chopped into a coarse past and blended with minced onion and oil and vinegar salad dressing. Occasionally lime juice is also used. This is appropriately served at breakfast, brunch, or cocktail hour.
3. Deviled Eggs
5. Herring Grundy Similar to Salt fish Gundy but based on dried herring. Usually a little spicier than Saltfish Gundy
7. Whole Wheat Dumb Bread made without yeast.
9. Stewed Eggplant
11. Stewed Okra and greens.
There was also a Tofu dish for the vegetarian in our group.
Last year we had pumpkin and banana fritters instead or Dumb bread and the ever popular jonny cake is usually available. What is served is based on the culinary skills of the person doing the cooking and also on what’s available. I have also had ham, scrambled eggs, black bread, avocado, cheese, stewed saltfish and I am sure many other items that I can’t remember.
In my mind this is a tradition that should be shared with the world and it’s unfortunate that visitors to our island rarely get a chance to join these wonderful events or share the food.