"All you need is love and Jamaican food."
If this be true, then I have it all.
For my 45th birthday, my wife cooked for me what is probably my favourite meal. Of all time.
Jamaican cuisine is the best food on the planet. Period. And I would cage fight anyone who would disagree.
What I love about the creation of these photographs is that it demonstrates a deep love that Sally has for me. A very special series. Sally loves the part of my make up that is Jamaican and because of that, holds dear the heritage I grew up with and longs for our boys to know and experience that too. As a boy growing to a teenager, having a Jamaican meal was a weekly affair. For most in the UK, the traditional Sunday roast meal was the food of choice; the dinner that was the headliner of the weekly family menu. But for us, it was the rice n peas n chicken that my Dad cooked and man, I loved it. To me, I had five star Michelin rated food weekly. Take it like this, there wasn't a grain left on my plate once finished. It was that good.
On top of consulting with my family to source ingredients and amounts, Sally contacted my Jamaican Aunty in Birmingham to get the finer details of the recipe, from its organisation to preparation, through to completion. She wanted it just right; the military precision went that far. Both my Dad and my Aunty Viv are Field Marshals in this line of food so she had the best chefs at her disposal.
What she had planned and what she executed was perfect and for this 45 year old, it took me right back home to the smells and the sounds and the sights that I remember as a boy. Testament enough to how good it was. Not at all bad for a first time. Add to it all, the dumplings that my Mum made, some jerk chicken - which Sally makes brilliantly on her own - a bottle of bubbly, socially distanced family and the meal was complete. Even Wray's Nephew and a torrential rainfall made an appearance - the latter providing entertainment for the children.
And the taste?
For me, it's the taste of Paradise.
Thank you, Sally, my Caribbean Queen x