I introduced you to my great grandma, introduced to my roots, my linage, my oldest living bloodline. She hugged you. Held you tight. Held you like you were a long lost relative who had finally returned. She took you into her domain, the place she believed to be a woman’s sanctuary, a place in which a woman provided nourishment for her family. I watched as she became your teacher, your culinary interrogator, quizzed you. Watched you as you kneeded flour making dumplings. Mummy Edna assessed your abilities to provide nourishment for her unborn great-great grandchildren – she wasn’t concerned if she would be here to see them. She wanted to know her bloodline would be left to a virtuous woman. I tried to save, Intervene. Was repelled by with threats of dutch pot to forehead reprimand. Told this was woman business, female talk. Smiled. Looked into you. Felt you kiss me with your eyes. You chuckled at my reprimand. Swift wooden spoon to your knuckles stifled your mockery. Mummy edna telling ‘dis ah nuh joke ting, mind fi yuh biznezz. Cah yuh mussi feel mi mek any an’ any people inna mi kitchen much less nyam from dem.’ Mummy Edna had embraced you. She was letting you cook in her kitchen. A kitchen she had provided food for 9 children, for 11 grand children, for 5 great grandchildren. A place she held as sacred.
We sat down as conversation and the clatter of cutlery filling the air.
Mummy Edna pouted her lips, tipped her chin up in your direction.
‘She can gwan still. Di likkle food taste ahright still.’
You had passed your culinary test, you had her approval. The woman who had raised my mother, the woman who had survived slavery, seen wars, seen her country become independent. She believed you could carry her baton, would be able to allow her spirit to rest peaceful know her family would be in good hands.