Sweet Cassava Pone

Novia McDonald-Whyte, Contributing editor

Thursday, April 29, 2004    

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La Baguette located inside John R Wong supermarket has long attracted lovers of sweet treats.

The lines, however, on a Saturday have become increasing longer since the arrival of the cassava pone. Not just satisfied with our purchase for Sunday dessert, we track down the bakers of this wonderful treat in the hope of finding out more about the rebirth of this not-so-modern dessert. How else could we explain to our readers that at 1:00 pm Saturday last the pone was all gone and yet the thoroughly modern desserts remained.

Former mayor of Kingston Colleen Yap Sam and her son Neil are who we find boxing cassava pones for their many clients.

Colleen Yap Sam took a closer look at the cassava pone as an adult. "The children used to enjoy it," she recalls. She agrees that it was never as popular as the sweet potato pudding, or the cornmeal pudding but that country people used to bake it a lot over coal stoves. Yap Sam's son Neil tells Thursday Food how difficult it was for them at Café Eateries (a restaurant they once ran at Southdale Plaza) to sell the cassava pone "We had to give it away". That was then. Today, some 20 years after moving Baker's Pride from Premier Plaza the pone is their best seller and in addition to sitting on the shelves of many a corporate area supermarket it's also available at Up Park Camp's commissary.

Our numerous requests for the recipe fall on deaf ears. In fact, Neil Yap Sam, a frequent culinary art winner at the annual JCDC competition as well as the winner of UTECH's 2003 Annette Chin Pastry Award, is proud to tell Thursday Food that the recipe is a family one and will remain just that. What we can share with you, however, is that once you enjoy a slice of the cassava pone (which is best served at room temperature) with influences of both Cuba and Jamaica, you might prefer to leave the baking to this formidable duo.

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