Taking a break from restaurant food, I cooked a little meal for the guys in Parachute Musical; their manager Nick; and their lovely lady friends Amanda, Mary and Sarah. We decided on Jamaican food a few weeks ago when we planned the dinner, so it worked perfectly into my ethnic food furlough project.
When I went on the road with the band a while back we had a moment of van boredom when we scrolled through the pictures on my camera. I remember someone coming across this photo of I-tal stew and asking about it, which is partly why I chose it for the dinner.
I learned about I-tal, a Rastafarian vegetable dish named after the word “vital,” from The Urban Cookbook by designer/filmmaker/cook King Adz. I picked the book up (oddly) at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
But as Amanda put it, it’s more than a cookbook: “It’s about how to be a good person.” Along with recipes for street food like Turkish kofta kebabs and Portuguese trinchada, it has profiles with artists about what inspires them from different cities in the world.
As for the I-tal, I’ve experimented with it before, having made the Urban Cookbook version and a recipe from Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. But I gotta say this week’s I-tal wasn’t my best.
I enjoyed the company as always though, and had some help in the kitchen. Ben, for example, made the rice. But cooking’s a new thing for him, so he had a hard time tearing himself away from the package directions.
Ben: “It’s like I’m dismantling a bomb.”
The following video happened while the band warmed up for a show in Atlanta. Moments later we found a leak in the van. I’m telling you. That job has some beautiful moments. But it ain’t easy.