Bourik with Carmel

  • Posted on: 22 February 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
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Po Bef During a recent stroll to Jakzil Bourik (BOS) happens upon the unfortunate fate of a hoofed brethren in an unlikely place, a big blackened pot with sauce and yams. But he keeps himself composed and manages an interview. This is the story of Carmel and her local specialty, po bef (cow skins). 

BOS: What are you selling there in that pot?
Carmel: Cow skins.
BOS: Say what?!
Carmel: Cow skins!
BOS: Hmmm, ok. And how much for cow skins?
Carmel: 10 gouds (27 cents) for a piece with sauce and yams.
BOS: 10 gouds (27 cents)?
Carmel: Yes, 10 gouds (27 cents).
BOS: It’s not donkey skin is it?
Carmel: No! I don’t do that.
BOS: Ok, just checking. So who taught you to make cow skins?
Carmel: I used to make them when I was a mademoiselle. But then I had 7 children.
BOS: You have seven kids?
Carmel: Yes that is when I stopped making cow skins.
BOS: Why did you stop making it then?
Carmel: Because I wasn’t here in Jakzil.
BOS: So when you returned to Jakzil you started making this dish again?
Carmel: Yes.
BOS: And who showed you how to make it? A neighbor, your mom?
Carmel: My aunt.
BOS: And how do you prepare this dish?
Carmel: You first boil the skin in water and this loosens the hair from the skin.
BOS: You boil the entire skin in water first?
Carmel: Yes you boil the skin in water and then you shave it with a knife to remove the hair.
BOS: And then?
Carmel: Then I grill it. And afterwards I wash it with sour oranges in lukewarm water.
BOS: You grill it and wash it again?
Carmel: Yes and then I marinated it with spices.
BOS: What spices?
Carmel: Maggie, garlic, green onions, cloves, and lime.
BOS: Are you sure that’s not donkey skins?
Carmel: Donkey skins?
BOS: Nothing, no never mind. Where do you buy these cow skins?
Carmel: In the Trou du Nord outdoor market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
BOS: And how much do you pay for them? Do you buy the whole cow?
Carmel: No I can’t afford the whole cow. That is for someone who has money. I buy just the skin. And the head!
BOS: And the head? Ok so how much do you pay for the skins?
Carmel: You can pay 100 Haitian dollars to 120 Haitian dollars.
BOS: And only in Trou du Nord?
Carmel: No today hmmmm…today is what day? Tuesday? No Wednseday. You can find cow skin in the Limonade market today.
BOS: What does it taste like?
Carmel: You eat it to make you full to give you force! But there aren’t many benefits to eating it. Do you want some?
BOS: Yes of course but later when I come back.

BOS: Kisa ou genyen nan chodye sa a?
Carmel: Po bef.  
BOS: Kisa?!
Carmel: Po bef!
BOS: Hmmm, ok. E konbyen yap vann?
Carmel: 10 gouds pou yon mòso avek sòs e yam yo.
BOS: 10 gouds?
Carmel: Wi, 10 gouds.
BOS: E pa po bourik la, no?
Carmel: Non! M pa fè sa a.
BOS: Ok, m ap jis tcheke. Donk, kisa montre ou fè po bef?
Carmel: M konn fè yo lè m te yon madamwzel. Epi mwen te fè set petit la.
BOS: Ou gen 7 petit?
Carmel: Wi epi lè sa a mwen te kanpe fè li.
BOS: Poukisa ou pat fè l nan lè sa a?
Carmel: Paske mwen pat nan Jakzil.
BOS: Donk, lè ou te tounnen Jakzil ou komanse fè yo anko?
Carmel: Wi.
BOS: E kiyes te montre ou fè yo, yon vwazin, mama ou?
Carmel: Tantann mwen.
BOS: E kouman ou prepare po bef?
Carmel: Ou mete li nan  dlo bouyi pou plim ka soti.
BOS: Ou mete tout plim nan dlo bouyi.
Carmel: Wi, ou bouyi po a epi ou grate l avek yo kouto pou tout plim ka soti.
BOS: Apre sa a kisa ou fè?
Carmel: Epi m pase l nan dife. Epi m lave ave zoranj si nan dlo ked.
BOS: Ou griye l epi lave l anko?
Carmel: Wi epi m mete nan epis.
BOS: Ki epis?
Carmel: Maggie, lay, pwawo, jiwòf e sitwon.
BOS: Byen si sa a pa po bourik?
Carmel: Po bourik?
BOS: Anyen, anyen. Kote ou achte po a pou fè?
Carmel: Nan mache Trou du Nord. madi e samdi.
BOS: E konbyen li koute? Eske ou achte tout bef la nèt?
Carmel: Non, m ka achte l tout. Sa a pou moun ki gen kòb..M jis achte po a. E tet la tou!
BOS: E tet la#$%*@? Donk, konbyen sa koute pou po yo?
Carmel: Ou ka achte l pou 100-120 dola Ayisyen.
BOS: Selman nan mache Trou du Nord?
Carmel: Non, jodia hmmmm…jodia se ki jou? Madi? Non, mekredi. Ou ka jwenn li nan mache Limonade jodia.
BOS: Ki gou li genyen?
Carmel: Ou manje pou plen vant ou. Pou bay ou fòs! Men li pa vreman gen benefis. Ou vle goute?  
BOS: Wi, men talè lè m tounnen.

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