Plantain Press

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
A wooden plantain press.
A wooden plantain press.

“Full of mixed feelings.” The mixed feelings stated by my mother were feelings of happiness and sadness of immigrating to the U.S. and especially New York. Leaving behind her friends, family members, and her mother in Haiti, my mother headed the U.S. in hopes of better opportunities including an education and a good paying occupation, during a heated political climate in Haiti. Along with her sisters, she boarded the plane with amazement and extensive observation. After arriving, she stayed in Richmond Hill, Queens, where she attended her senior year in high school, continued to college to study to be an occupational therapist, and worked a few jobs. Meanwhile in achieving her goals of getting an education and beginning a career, she managed to keep her culture alive. A major part of Haitian culture is the food. Following her from Haiti to Queens was a wooden plantain press. It had been used and is still used to make “banann peze” or fried plantain, which is a staple in almost every Haitian household. With the banann peze, came other foods that reminded her of her home country. Additionally, along with the food also came stories, crick cracks (riddles) and games that made her new environment more like home. This part of her culture has been carried on with her, shared with her children and blended into her American life.

Place(s): Haiti,Queens
Year: 1987

– Ashley Sagesse

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant