If you follow my Facebook or Instagram pages, you already know that I’m co-authoring and updating the next edition of Rough Guide to Jamaica (Rough Guides UK, releasing in 2018). My portion of the book starts at Hanover parish and extends along the western and southern coasts onto Negril, Bluefields, Belmont, Whitehouse, Treasure Beach, Mandeville and all the way to Kingston.
“In Jamaica, we eat every part of the goat,” says Rudy, my driver. “You ever had Mannish wata? Same thing with the patty–the only thing left at the end is the bag.”
He raises the small, greasy brown paper bag he’s holding with one hand, while driving with the other. I notice his impeccable crunching technique as he tilts his head forward and sinks his teeth into a steaming hot beef patty. No crumbs scatter on his pants, unlike mine, and a swift bite at intervals causes the pastry crumbs to fall directly into the bag.
I smiled and felt some weight falling off my shoulders. Just an hour after landing in Jamaica, the patty sampling had begun and I had a patty-enthusiastic driver. But what Jamaican isn’t, when it comes to their favorite snack?
Still, the exhilaration and pressure of a tight deadline weighed on my mind. I had under a week to complete the task of researching, writing and shooting the story of the Jamaican patty–the shoot being just as important as the article and even more demanding. The following Friday, I had a flight to New Zealand to catch and there was no missing that.