One bright cook

One bright cook

Ziggy’s food for the world

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

Sunday, November 20, 2016

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Multiple Grammy winner Ziggy Marley is known for his music exploits. Just over a month ago, the eldest son of reggae icon Bob Marley let many in on his love for cooking with the release of Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook.

The work offers a peek into the kitchen he shares with his Israeli wife, Orly, and their four children.

"I am always cooking with my family and introducing them to food from Jamaica and just mixing it up. I am always taking pictures of the food and people usually say, ‘This looks good, you guys should do a Cookbook’... That’s how it started and then one day we just said: ‘Why not?’ And here it is," he told the Jamaica Observer during an interview from his base in California.

For Marley, it is more than a cookbook, more than just recipes and food, but an insight into the importance of eating healthy.

In addition to Jamaican classics like jerk chicken and escoveitched fish, there are healthy options like a quinoa salad and dishes using grains which reflect his wife’s Jewish heritage.

"Growing up with my mother and father, we always saw food as being important, not just to full your belly, but to make us healthy and as our medicine. With my father being athletic, he also stressed the benefits of eating properly — putting good fuel in the body to have it run at its best, just like you would do with a car. And that’s where I take it with my family and what we want to share with this cook book," Marley disclosed.

He has been promoting it on American television.

"I was just on a TV show called The Chew on ABC and Chopped Jr on The Food Network, and people are just loving the the recipes and the food. Everybody love jerk chicken, all the chefs on these shows are asking about jerk. It’s part of the attraction to Jamaican culture — the music, the way we talk, walk, look, music, and the way we cook," he said. "But it’s been really positive, and I believe it has to do with the fact that everyone can relate to the food in the book. It is not a Jamaican cookbook, it is not Middle Eastern, it is not vegetarian... instead, it reaches out to everyone, and you are able to take from it what you can relate to and what appeals to you."

Marley’s favourite recipe is the stout gingerbread that was given to him by his sister, Karen. "It’s made with Guinness. At the risk of getting fat, I have to admit this is a favourite," he said.

As for music, Marley, who is now 48 years old, is still pushing his self-titled album, released early this year.

"I find that the message on this album is really relevant to the times. In the songs, I am speaking to what’s happening in the world, but not in a straightforward way. It is musically metaphoric, said in a different way, but people are getting the message in songs like We Are The People and Weekend’s Long. Especially at this time, with what is happening in US politics, these songs seem to be touching the people in a real way," he said.

And his next performance in Jamaica?

"It’s been too long since I have performed in Jamaica. If the people want it to happen, then it will," said Marley before bursting into laughter.

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