Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2013 Contents B3
Monday, December 9, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
As a young girl, Vere Joseph grew
up in a small fishing village in Tobago
with her Uncle Russell, a man who
instilled in her an everlasting love
"My uncle loved to cook," the 70-
year-old said, reflecting on her years
with an uncle, Russell Caesar, who
would use readily available ingredients
from his backyard.
"He had a garden, lots of provisions
and he was a fisherman too. So we
got the best of the fresh products. As
a young girl I would follow him around
and he had a saying when the pot
says bub bub we eating, " Joseph rem-
"Bub bub" meant when the pot was
boiling, the food was ready.
"He taught me to cook in a flash,"
she laughed heartily.
That love continued to grow, and
Joseph has poured her passion for
cooking into her recently published
vegetarian cook book called Vere s Veg-
It was a long time coming, she said.
As an adult, she took on catering as
a way to make money from her culi-
"I turned it into a small business,"
As she grew older and her Chris-
tianity became a more prominent part
of her life, Joseph made a decision to
become a vegetarian.
"I had loved meat. And my husband
was a real meat-mouth."
She said she wondered how food
could still be as flavourful and satis-
fying without meat, and one of her
close friends Angela Kerr asked her,
"Why don t you write a book about
how to do that?"
Joseph toyed with the idea and did
some research on vegetarian dishes
for a while.
"I loved African foods, and I decided
to do research. And then I compiled
my recipes, as fast as I cooked some-
But it was not until her husband
died suddenly in 2008, she used the
cook book as a distraction, spending
months in the kitchen perfecting her
"There I am alone, so I have to find
things to take away the emptiness, the
loneliness, the whatever," Joseph said,
smiling reservedly as she described
what got her through that time in her
"After he died, I just sunk myself
into something worthwhile."
From start to end, the book took
about three years to finally be com-
piled, printed and sold in book stores.
An emotional Joseph said when the
first copy of the book arrived in her
mailbox in June 2013, she could barely
contain her excitement.
"I went outside when the book
came. Girl, I got the package from
FedEx. I held it. I ran inside. I called
Angela...I m jumping up in my house
and she s jumping up in her house,"
she said animatedly, gesticulating with
her hands as she described her strong
"It was hilarious. And I was just so
excited, you know all this time I still
didn t open the package to see the
When asked if she believed meat
lovers could be satisfied with vegetarian
dishes from her cook book, her son-
in-law Kirk Elliott, jumped in to answer
"I love meat. And you sort of think:
What can I expect? But when I saw
the dishes, I was blown away by how
tasty they looked, it was the
colours...So there was that visual
delight, and then when I sampled a
couple of the dishes, what really struck
me was how flavourful they were.
They were flavourful, they were
savoury, to the point that I didn t miss
"That s my experience from a meat-
eater s perspective," Elliott said.
Elliott is from St Lucia, but came
to Trinidad to take professional pho-
tographs of the dishes to illustrate in
Joseph s cook book.
All the ingredients necessary for the
recipes can be found in the market.
"If it s not in your back yard, you
can get it in the market. And that s
what I wanted to do too, something
that was local," the D Abadie resident
The book is available for $200 at
Charran s, RIK, Ishmael M Khan
& Sons Book Sellers, and book
shops in Piarco International Airport,
or e-mail Joseph directly at christo-
Vere's vegetarian way
Vera Joseph's cookbook Vere's Vegetarian Delights: A Vegetarian's
Journey Through Caribbean Cuisine is available in bookstores.
PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
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