Grandmother’s Oxtail: A Flavor Eruption
PUBLISHED: May 15, 2022
Mmmmmmmmmm. I remember when I first ate my grandmother's oxtail. Mmmmmmm. The flavor of the spicy sauce that she put on the side. I could smell the aroma of the oxtail from downstairs. My grandmother told me to come downstairs to eat. When she put the plate in front of me, I could see the sauce dripping off the oxtail and the white rice. I just had to put some of that spicy delicious sauce on top of the rice. I could still see the big pot of oxtail in the kitchen; I could hear the bubbles popping. It was the most special experience I ever had in my life. My grandmother's oxtail is the greatest dish in the world!
The creaminess of that thick sauce. And when everyone is asleep, I sneak down into the kitchen and take a little piece . . . mmmmmm. I took one more piece, and the meat was already falling off the bone. I felt like jumping for joy. One reason why my grandmother's oxtail is the best in the world is because she told me that this recipe has been in the family for over seventy years. I love learning new recipes expressly from my grandmother and my aunt.
Let me explain: sometimes, not often, but when the air is cool and the sun is covered by the big clouds in the sky, and when the snow falls down, she looks out and says, “It's time.” We all know what that means. She takes out the biggest pot in the cabinet. She takes out the oxtail from the refrigerator. She washes the oxtail and takes off the excess fat so it does not get too greasy. She gets all kinds of spices like curry, cumin, peppercorn, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. She puts the spices over the oxtail and lets it sit overnight. The next day, the osha would pour a teency bit of water (teency: a little bit) and pour beef broth in the pot. Then she put the oxtail in the broth and the spices. She lets the oxtail cook in the pot for three hours and makes a sauce or gravy. It takes one hour to cook, sooooo loooooong. Finally, it is done.
After hours and hours of cooking, it’s finally done. My grandmother puts the plate in front of me. In a blink of an eye, I was already finished. It tastes like a smooth, spicy cloud. The next time you are looking to eat something spicy and with a good texture, come to my house, and you can get a plate of good stuff.
From You Are Eating a Pomegranate: Food Writing by 826NYC Students at P.S. 316, 2022
Written by Alexia Mohabeer