My favorite part about going home to visit my parents is waking up on Saturday mornings. When the sun is conjured from her sleep and slips into the light shadows of my bedroom. When the familiar smell of dumplings popping in burning oil and saltfish swimming between tender pieces of ackee waft toward my nose. When old reggae songs hum from our living room speakers, calling me out of bed and into the kitchen where my mom stands cooking at the stove and my dad deejays from his iPad as he sips hot earl grey tea.
Those Saturday mornings remind me of how all my weekends started growing up: with food and music. I haven't tried recreating them on my own, but I have recently gotten into the habit of listening to the Jamaican songs my parents grew up on — and me as well — while cooking. They bring back memories of Saturday mornings, when I felt the kind of love you can only feel when surrounded by your family, talking loudly and sneaking bites of breakfast while dancing to Bitty McLean and Beres Hammond.
To give you an idea of what I’m moving to when moving through my kitchen, I’ve created a Spotify playlist and shared it down below. If you’re not Jamaican or Caribbean or don’t hang around Caribbean folk, it may be hard to understand what the artists are singing at times. But that’s okay, because you can still enjoy the music without knowing.