As my family migrated to the United States from Guyana, they brought over many cultural foods. Roti is a soft flat bread typically served with curry but can be eaten with anything. There are different types of roti: dhalpuri (made with peas), potato roti, paratha roti (plain roti). In Guyanese culture it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Whether you go to a Guyanese wedding or party you will be guaranteed to find roti. Also when family members or family friends come to visit us from Guyana, they will most likely be served this amongst other things. A funny recollection that comes to mind is the first time I tried to make roti on my own, it was a mess and my family had a good laugh. I clapped the roti at the wrong time and added too much and too little of certain ingredients. “Clapping” is a Guyanese term that describes the method of releasing the air bubbles from the roti after it is cooked. Once the roti is properly cooked, it is tossed up in the air and clapped with both hands repeatedly as soon as it is off the stove. This means that in order to do this, your hands will feel like they’re on fire because of the amount of heat it takes while clapping. I still remember my sister’s exact words “it smells like roti but it doesn’t taste like it.” Eventually I asked my mother and grandmother to teach me, and while I’m not as perfect at making roti as they are, hopefully by the time I have children of my own I can pass on the tradition and teach them as well.
– Aisha Boston