Thursday, August 4, 2011

Exuma: Stocking Island Pig Roast

It's early August which means, Dad's birthday in Exuma! I actually thought I would get through this year's trip without blogging. I figured you knew it all; dinners at Houseman's, lobster rolls in our massive silly kitchen...

Exuma will always surprise me. Last year we "discovered" the Stocking Island Sunday pig roasts which you may remember we loved. Even Jack, who was a bit surly at being called from the back 9, ended up enjoying his peas n' rice, mac n' cheese, candied carrots, and succulent pork doused in florescent sauce.

We are down much longer this year. There will be two pig roasts for me. Sunday, Jack and I disembarked from the plane, filled out forms as quickly as possible, and tried to ignore the chattering Sandals folks in line with us. "I hear there is a pig roast on Sundays on an island where you have to take a boat!" Luckily, all agreed that they would check in at their snazzy spot, and then go in search of Bahama-roast pork. Jack and I threw our belongings in the trunk of our rickety rental and headed straight for George Town. There, we changed in the deserted parking lot, hopped on Elvis's water taxi and were off for drinks and bliss.

Elvis remembered us from last year (he was the sage who advised that I stop swimming across Emerald Bay in the warm summer waters that attract carnivorous wildlife) and we fell easily to chatting.

Unexpected was the detail with which he could describe the making of the Stocking Island Pig Roast mac n' cheese. Since my untrained palate detected the same satisfying consistency in all Exuman mac n' cheese, I thought it came from the same tin or box. No. But the method of production is similar enough to give you that impression. After giving us the basic run-down (macaroni boiled, cheese grated, cooked in the baker...code for "oven"), Elvis told us that they cook would give further details if we asked.

The sand was warm on our feet when we landed and we walked gleefully up to the Chat n' Chill bar, ordered our Pig Roast tickets and two Rum Punches ($56!) and felt the Exuman calm wash over us.

The only people in line, it still took a while for anyone to give us food. Sense of urgency varies around here. Then, as the cook scooped, shoveled and shoved each item onto our plate, I asked about the mac n' cheese. "Elvis, from the water taxi, says that you make the mac n' cheese from scratch..." I began. She replied, "yes." and that was it. I shrugged and Jack and I exchanged a giggle under our breaths.

It was a full sixty seconds before she began, quietly and slowly to describe in painstaking detail the lengths to which the cook goes to make this mac n' cheese. 5:30am arrival, water, onions & sweet peppers boiled with salt, taste, macaroni, boil & taste, mixed with grated cheese, laid in pan, white cheese grated on top, put in baker. She smiled carefully and then said, "do not forget the sauce for your pork!" No need, florescent yellow sauce was ladled in abundance on our meat.

Lemmie tell you, when we sat down at a massive picnic table, we could taste each loving step of that mac n' cheese and I was horrified at myself. How could I have ever thought that this required side dish was the same and all from a tin?! What is wrong with me?!

Jack and I splashed around in the small sound behind the Chat n' Chill before heading to the taxi dock. Everyone from our plane was disembarking as we nimbly hopped into the now empty boat with Elvis.

At our hotel, we found Mom and Dad already installed at the bar and a Dilly Crab waiting territorially to guard our patio.

I still didn't think you'd be getting posts though. It was all familiar, all as it should be.

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