In my family pork is and was a no-no. We were raised messanic Jewish. This may sound strange to outsiders , yet common in the island. However, there was no formal name for this, just apart of island heritage.
Jamaica has numerous religions to date, the basics are: Rastafarian, forms of Christianity and Obeah (pagan voodoo). As history books state Columbus sailed the ocean blue, landed in my country and ruined shit. My orginal ancestors in the carib were dealt the same fate as the native Americans-destroyed by unbathed, yet overly righteous people from across the Atlantic. As the years of struggle began, the fights escalated, changes progressed and christianity found a home in Jamaica along with British training. This is my land.
Back to the point , pork is a no-no for me. I have had it on rare occasions and everytime I end up dating my bathroom. So I usually tell people I don’t eat pork, if they are really confused I tell people I am a vegetarian.
I currently reside in the south, Atlanta to be exact. Home of the fried and bbq. This where French fry is a vegetable(not kidding), cobbler pies and some pregnant women enjoy eating white dirt aka corn starch and where mega-churches are everywhere. I work at a hospital that is so drama filled, I contemplate getting sued just to write about the strange that I am immersed in.
Working here I see the vast differences between north and south, cultures and values that at times I look too heathen or too uppity. I have never truly fit,yet I endure for reasons I will not explain.
There is a big dialog-vocabulary confusion at my job, especially when understanding the similarity of pork and bacon,sausage,ham,ribs,pork chops.
It all began like this;there was a Muslim patient who called me because he was given sausages patty for breakfast. I told him I will call and get him a different breakfast. I called the kitchen and told them the patients’ chart states no pork. The person on the other end says okay. Time passess a new tray arrives, it has bacon on it. I am confused. I tell the girl he eats no pork. She tells me okay. The third go around sausage links (how are sausage links different from sausage patty, I Don’t Know)! I gave him cereal and milk that is in the mini fridge.
I am so confused now regarding the defintion of pork. So I take a breathe and call the kitchen. I ask, “why every breakfast you sent had pork on it?” The manager apologize and told me that lunch will be better.
He got a big piece of ham for lunch to go with peas and mashed potatoes. I call and ask, do you know what pork is?
Me: and what else?
Answer: the sausage patty
Me: and ham and any other name you know. They all come from pigs. Pigs aka Pork are the same.
Please stop giving this man pig!
Answer: gotcha. I didn’t realize it.
Okay, I think success finally! I again gave him mini fridge food, again apologize and told him dinner will be better.
He got a pork chop, I begged his doctor to change his diet to vegetarian because my head hurts. Problem Solved.
I have dealt with this confusion in different venues in Atlanta. A friend told me once,”I had a big breakfast with eggs, fruit, bacon sausage and grits”. I said that’s a lot of pork in the morning. She told no they are different.
It never ends….