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06/29/2010

Chestnut Hill’s Got Spice!

Last Thursday’s crazy storm cleared just in time for our Edible World: The Spice Necklace event in Chestnut Hill. However, we still moved the event inside the Chestnut Hill Hotel, which offered a respite from the oppressive heat. Things didn’t cool down too much inside, however. At least not once Claudette Campbell’s homemade hot pepper sauce hit the tables, enhancing our doubles and stew chicken with a tangy kick. Luckily, nobody seemed to mind.

Guest author Ann Vanderhoof charmed (and possibly inspired?) our audience with her tale of leaving her life in Toronto behind to sail the Caribbean with her husband, sharing her adventures with homemade “island Viagra” and the mishaps and rewards of catching your own crab dinner. Questions came one after the other as people wanted to know about Ann’s favorite dishes (oildown and buss up shut), what it’s like living in close quarters on the sailboat with her husband (they seem to get along abnormally well!), and how she was able to meet so many people so easily (admiring mangoes was key). We all fell in love with Claudette, the chef behind family-run Calypso, first for her delicious Trinidadian fare and then again when she shared stories about her cooking and background. The phrase of the night? “A little bit of this, a little bit of that,” the mainstay of pretty much all of Claudette’s recipes.

We were joined by special guest Rick Nichols – host of our next Edible World Food Tour in August, Behind the BBQ, and the reason why we discovered Calypso in the first place – who couldn’t turn down another chance to taste Claudette Campbell’s cooking. The meal included doubles; her Tanti Slaw (“coleslaw with a kick,” she says); a beautiful salad of greens, sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes; stew chicken (my personal favorite); fried plantains; peas and rice; veggies; and her special pound cake, ever so subtly imbued with fresh lime. Claudette doesn’t over spice her food on purpose, but if you like a bit of heat then her hot pepper sauce will be your new best friend. If you haven’t already enjoyed Claudette’s food, head to Calypso immediately (Chestnut Hill Farmers Market, 8229 Germantown Ave). Tell her that First Person Arts sent you.

Photos clockwise: Claudette Campbell, Ann Vanderhoof, a tray full of doubles. All by Mia Aronson.

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