The story of PICKLIZ - Warmth in the cold
Although I was born and raised in the cold City of a Hundred Steeples, Montreal, my mother made sure that our home was always piping hot with our Haitian heritage and her cooking. In my childhood memories, I see my mom as a tall, built lady standing over a stove, patiently preparing for hours bouillon, di ri ak sos pwa, legim or tchaka while humming a church song in a high pitched tone, joking around with family members who were sniffing around in the kitchen and scolding my brother for running indoors. She was like a conductor with her big wooden spoon and her Dutch pots.
Everything lakay, which is Creole for 'home', was Haitian; the way we spoke, the joke and stories we shared and the food we ate. The only hints one would have had that they were in fact in Canada were our winter boots by the front door and the fireplace burning in the living room.
Once in a while, mammie would ask dad to help her meticulously cut by hand for hours the ingredients to prepare a batch of pikliz, a traditional condiment that has been used for centuries in Haiti. All of our friends and relatives knew about mom’s pikliz and often begged her to make them a special delivery. All respectable Haitians have a jar of homemade pikliz on their table during their meal and add it to nearly anything savoury.
And now that you have “PICKLIZ” on your table to heat up your home and meal, I can only welcome you to Haiti and wish you “Bon apeti!”