Sunday, October 23, 2016



When I read the description of Loving This Man, by Althea Prince, on the book's back cover, I thought it might turn out to be a romance novel. The main characters were women from an Antiguan family, and the plot seemed to revolve around their relationships with men, whether loving or exploitive.

But the book turned out to be so much more than a romance. The first half focuses on the lives of three sisters, Reevah, Sage, and Juniper Berry, living on the Caribbean island of Antigua during the 1950's and 1960's. This isn't the tourist's Antigua, where we in the U.S. go to get away from it all -- this is the Antigua where people live and work and raise their children. The characters in Loving This Man face a variety of obstacles, such as government corruption, domestic violence, disparate treatment based on skin color, and barriers that keep them from reaching their full potential. They persevere, however, in large part by drawing upon the love and strength of their family. 

In the second half of the book, Reevah's daughter Saychelle leaves Antigua to live with her great-aunt in Toronto, Canada. There, she becomes involved in the Black Power movement, while also becoming aware of the special challenges facing women, particularly black women. As she discovers, "It was impossible not to notice that Black women were second-class citizens twice: in the white world and in the Black world."

She also experiences the alienation that comes from living away from one's own country:  "My life had other defining moments, but none could compare to the hollow in my heart that had been made by immigration."

Loving This Man is a celebration of strong women. The characters make mistakes, certainly, but they learn from them and move forward with resolve and renewed purpose. I found myself cheering them on every step of the way.


It was clear to me as I read the book that what I ought to cook for this blog post was pepperpot and foongie. Reevah made this dish for her family every Saturday, and after Saychelle moved to Toronto, she and her great-aunt followed the same ritual. But pepperpot and foongie turned out to involve more cooking than I was prepared to do, so I decided to make "season-rice" instead, a dish that Sage made for dinner following a funeral: "She had cooked a big-big pot of Seleena's favourite food, season-rice, and had invited several friends to drop by her house." 

I used a recipe I found on a website called "The Integrationist." To veganize the recipe, I left out all the meat and added a can of black beans (drained) instead. I also substituted butternut squash for the pumpkin. It turned out pretty well!

If you're a more ambitious cook than I am and would like to try your hand at making pepperpot and foongie, I found this recipe on "The Caribbean Current." The recipe suggests that vegetarians omit the meat. If you decide to make it, let me know how it is!


My donation for Antigua and Barbuda is going to the Kiwanis Club of Wadadli Young Professionals, which has undertaken several projects to help children and young people. Some of their recent projects involved providing household items and toiletries to the Sunshine Home for Girls, and raising funds for the Kiwanis campaign to eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus. More information about the Kiwanis Club of Wadadli Young Professionals is available on their Facebook page at


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