St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated at Norwich United Church with a Jamaican luncheon. On Tuesday March 17, 2015, Summer Dunchie spoke to the United Church Women’s Group (UCW) at their General Meeting about her native foods and served about 27 members lunch. Summer is the one-woman operation of the chip wagon located at 7 Stover Street South in Norwich called "Summer’s Country Wagon" which is painted in the Jamaican flag’s colours of green, yellow and black. Summer’s is opened from May 1st to October 31st, she serves both Canadian and West Indian foods like jerk chicken, jerk pork, curry goat, oxtail with rice and peas, rotis with goat, shrimp, chicken or vegetarian. Her most popular item is jerk chicken wings.
Summer described what she was serving the group; ackee and salt fish, another ackee dish without fish, green bananas, fried dumplings, fried plantation, rice and coleslaw. Carrot juice Jamaican style was also served as a beverage. Summer began cooking the food that morning from 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Summer explained that ackee and salt fish is the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee is grown in clusters in ten feet high evergreen trees. There are certain parishes in Jamaica where ackee was grown, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon. Ackee was imported from Africa around 1788 probably from a slave ship. Now Jamaicans usually grow ackee as well as bananas and plantain. When ripen, ackee is pear shaped and turns from green to red. Three black seeds are exposed. Ackee is a delicacy that is served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The United Church Women's Group
The United Church Women's Group meet monthly and hold general meetings quarterly. As a member of the Church and UCW, Summer was asked to give a presentation. She thought not only will she talk about her native Jamaican foods but she would also offer lunch. The best way to talk about something is to try it out or taste it.
President of UCW Lois Iring opened the meeting with a prayer. Doris Empey introduced the entertainment. The female quartet consisting of Linda Torkelson - Secretary - Joanne Ward, Janet Hilliker and Julie Ferris sang the Negro Spiritual “King Jesus is Coming” in a capella. Following the singing Doris Empey introduced the guest speaker, Summer Dunchie.
In speaking to long-time church member Jessie Tribe, she provided me with a brief history of the church. Jessie has been a member of the Norwich United Church since she was seven years old. That is when she and her younger brother who was five at the time were baptized. At 94 Jessie continues to attend church with her family. She was an active member of the church who taught Sunday School for 40 years, was the Church Secretary for more then 10 years and sat on the Board of Directors taking turns in office. Along with now President Lois Irving, Jessie also helped formed the UCW in the 1960’s.
Jessie explained how there were two associations, the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) and the Women’s Association (WA) where she belonged to both. Nationally, the United Church Women was formed when these two groups amalgamated on January 1st, 1962.
Regular Meetings of the United Church Women's Group are held the second Tuesday each month. The next meeting will be on April 14th at 2:00 p.m. held at a member’s home. General Meetings occur about three times a year with a guest speaker. All meetings are open to any woman regardless of their religious orientation. Anyone interested in joining can contact President Lois Irving at 519-863-2036.
Gallery of pictures from the UCW's St. Patrick's Day Jamaican luncheon: