Friday, January 9, 2009

Martha Stewart visits Abaco and samples Bahamian conch fritters

Martha Stewart has a blog and she talked about Abaco and showed thirty something pictures including the flight over. I happened to catch it because I have a link to her blog on my site, My Carolina Kitchen, and saw in the headlines that she mentioned Abaco.

It's titled it My first day on the island of Abaco, a quiet and friendly place.

She described Abaco as a very quiet, nothing-to-do kind of place and said she had a surprisingly nice time there. She was a guest of friends of hers, the Dowdle family. She went deep sea fishing, bone fishing, wild pig hunting, swam in the blue hole and visited Green Turtle Cay.

There are photos of Ruby Clarke, the cook who promised to write all of her recipes down so Jimmy (Martha's host) could create a cookbook for prosperity. There is also a picture of her with Freeland, the driver. There are numerous photos of the flight over and the beautiful clear waters of Abaco from the air and nice sunset pictures.

While Martha was there, she sampled Conch Fritters, which she loved, prepared for her by Ruby Clarke, a local Bahamian. Conch Fritters are a local specialty. The fritters are a conch and flour batter seasoned with onions, celery, green bell pepper, (these three vegetables are called the “trinity” in Creole cuisine), tomato paste, thyme and baking powder and deep fried and served typically with a red cocktail sauce flavored with horseradish and hot sauce.

I have two excellent recipe sources for Conch Fritters. One is in Gourmet Bahamian Cooking by Marie Mendelson and the other is from Rudy’s Place in Elbow Cay (sadly now closed and missed by all). Rudy’s recipe is in A Guide and History of Hope Town by Steve Dodge & Vernon Malone, 1990 version, and Gourmet Bahamian Cooking is still in print.

Now Martha knows the secret to Abaco, as all of us do that have visited. Get sand in your shoes and you will return. Abaco lovers such as myself have kept this wonderful place our little secret paradise. Thank you Martha for visiting and finding it the quiet, laid back and friendly place that it truly is. As the Bahamians say, "Martha's done reached."

To read more, here's the link to her blog:


ann crumpton said...

I happened upon your posting on the Abaco community board about Martha Stewart's visit to Abaco and enjoyed reading it. Afterwards I found and read your blog. The photos brought back wonderful memories of our time on Lubbers renting Sandy Bottoms in June of 2003. Thanks and good luck with the book!
Ann Crumpton

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Hi Ann. It's so nice to hear from you. I'm glad you found my blog. I got out our "Sandy Bottoms" guest book and read the comments you left back in 2003 and it brought back many fond memories for me as well. Guests like you made the experience extra special.

The new owners of "Sandy Bottoms" are treating her well and have put on a lovely addition and a beautiful stone wall along the shoreline. We miss Abaco, especially on a snowy day like today in the mountains.

Thanks for stopping by my site. I hope you will visit again soon.
Sam (and Meakin of course)

Nancy Simpson said...

Sam, This is a fascinating site. It is true you make me want to take my writing folder and go live on an island for a while. I've always had that dream. When students tell me they want to get into an M.F.A. Writing program, I tell them instead to take the money and go live on an island and write. The results might be better.

From Living Above the Frost Line where we have snow on the ground and an impassible road.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Nancy, you are right. Living on an island can bring out the creative spirit in people. Our neighbor in the islands, Anne Ray, had never picked up a paint brush in her life other than the house painting kind, discovered she had a great deal of talent as a watercolor artist. She became quite famous for her colorful art. In fact, her husband Pat built an art studio for her and her art was displayed in homes and galleries throughout Abaco. So, it is amazing what "living on an island" can do for people.

It's a frosty ten at my house today here in the mountains. What would you say to running away from home? How about I meet you at the Bahamas Air ticket counter in Palm Beach. From there we could be in Abaco on that beautiful little island in about an hour. Maybe you could teach me how to write some of that beautiful poetry on your "Living Above the Frost Line" site.

girlichef said...

Abaco is so dreamy...and conch, yum! It's so sweet and delicate and I'm now dreaming of a warm getaway :)

Janet said...

I would love to get in touch with Ruby Clarke, is he/she willing to do an in house meal, as chef? many thanks