Lincoln Edwards is the glue that keeps the Australian Jamaican community connected. Nicknamed Stick because of his childhood gentle frame, there's hardly a person in the community who hasn't heard of the radio DJ, including Australian Honorary-Consul of Jamaica Marco Beresford Breakenridge. In Jamaica, food, music, and community equals the spirit of the island nation. Using the DJ stage name Stick Mareebo, the St Thomas-born native pays homage to that spirit.
During the start of the pandemic, Stick pivoted to offering his audiences something more than music. In March 2020, he started demonstrating Jamaican recipes to a live social media audience whilst deejaying. Hard to do? Not if you're Stick Mareebo, responsible for bringing top Jamaican talent like Bushman and Tarrus Riley to Australia. The secret? It's in his musical storytelling.
Anyone who's heard Stick play his tunes will know that he takes his audience on a journey, evoking emotions with questions and talking them through the meaning of the lyrics. Much like he does in his live food classes. He takes participants on a culinary journey through time and rhyme.
“St Thomas is country life, reminds me of Cairns in Australia. More symbolic of the true Jamaica,” the youthful 56-year-old says, contrasting his birthplace with days spent in Kingston, which he says functioned like a training school for New York. The music he plays reflects Jamaican music through time. The food he cooks reflects the rhythm of old traditions. “Country people cook country pots.” One of his favourite dishes to cook for a virtual audience is rice and peas.
“Your judgement has to be spot on. You can't measure the ingredients and put them into the rice cooker,” he warns. He grates his coconut, soaks peas overnight to make sure they're soft, and puts in a pinch of sugar to balance out the Scotch bonnet pepper. The earliest recordings of the recipe show that West Africans carried their dreams and the dish to the Caribbean nation. Now it's being showcased in true Mareebo fashion by the famed DJ.
For Australians who want to follow along with the recipe, Stick's advice is to use jasmine rice as an alternative to Jamaican rice which acts as a sponge to soak up the gravy.
On August 6, 2021, Jamaica will celebrate its 59th year of Independence, and Stick will be celebrating by feeding at least 100 people, depending on pandemic restrictions. In September 2021, Stick will also host a tribute to Toots Hibbert, who passed away last year. All these events keep the Jamaican community down under strong.
For anyone wanting to learn how to make Jamaican dishes with Stick, simply head to his social media page to find out when the next event is on. You don't need to hire a deejay to get the party started. You'll have the famous Stick Mareebo right there in your home, cooking alongside you. Now that's the Jamaican spirit!
For more information on Stick Mareebo's virtual cooking classes, please visit his social media page at Instagram @stickmareebo.
— Bridgett Leslie is an internal auditor by day and a media correspondent by night. She is passionate about Caribbean flavours and the community around this culinary cuisine. She is currently finishing her undergraduate studies in gastronomy at Le Cordon Bleu.