Sunday, November 7, 2021
Precipitation – Soon come
The back porch of Dermott Bottoms’ shack will be the set of the ‘Cookin’ With Dermott’ cooking show, which aired its first episode this week. (photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe)
Local jack-of-all trades Dermott Bottoms announced Thursday he will host a cooking show, ‘Cookin’ With Dermott,’ aimed at popularizing Blacktip Island cuisine for a wider audience.
“Lots of good food here nobody off island knows about,” Bottoms said. “Tourists’re surprised by all the food we got, ask how to make it. Now, I’m gonna show ‘em, right here on my back porch.
“Took my mama’s recipes and modernized ‘em,” he said. “Also gonna show folks practical stuff like how to slice vegetables with a machete, how to knock out a smoke alarm before they start cookin’ and how to grill roadkill iguana on a car engine—the meat’s already been tenderized.”
The show’s backers say it has unlimited potential.
“Dermott’s going to be the next Julia Child,” local attorney Ferris Skerritt said. “Certainly, he’ll cover beer-can chicken and conch-and-Cheeto pizza, but he’ll also address when it’s better to just open a can of beanie weenies, and which beer pairs best with what dish.
“It’s just on YouTube for now, but we’re working on a deal with the Food Network,” Skerritt said. “This regional-and-unique is the latest rage in food TV. We just need to get more than three followers to get their attention.”
Some on the island questioned the show’s viability.
“The first episode was Dermott showing how to make turtle-egg omelets, including where to find turtle nests and how to dig them up,” Marine Parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “That may be an old-school local tradition, but it’s massively illegal. His demonstrations of how to open a coconut and skin a turbot were rough, but educational. His killing and eating endangered species is beyond the pale.”
Others voiced broader concerns.
“This is Dermott we’re talking about here,” Rocky Shore said. “On camera, playing with knives and fire. That won’t end well. And as for the dishes, frankly, if Dermott shows how to cook something, I’m gonna do the opposite. The man could burn water.”
Bottoms and Skerritt took the criticism in stride.
“Dermott’s rough delivery is part of the charm,” Skerritt said. “Is he difficult to understand sometimes? Sure. Does he wave that machete around like he has no self-control? Absolutely. That creates the narrative and builds tension—what, exactly, is he cooking, and will he finish the show without injuring himself or destroying the set? We’re pitching it as ‘Sasquatch meets Rachel Ray.’”
Bottoms brushed aside the negative remarks.
“Folks saying I can’t do this, I’ll show ‘em,” he said. “Gonna be famous on more than just one island.”
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Precipitation – Not a chance
Blacktip Island will host its inaugural ‘Conch-o-ween’ Saturday at various locations across the island in a combined celebration of both Halloween and the Caribbean island’s heritage.
“We wanted to do something that screamed ‘Blacktip’ and ‘Boo!’” event organizer Jay Valve said. “We also needed the theme to be unambiguous. Last year’s superhero-themed ‘Hero-ween celebration’ got read as ‘heroin celebration,’ and all sorts of folks showed up looking for drugs.
“Conch were, and are, a major element in our island society,” Valve said. “Conch-o-ween guarantees wholesome family fun, and there’s no way the name can be misconstrued. Conch-themed costumes are encouraged, but not required, though they will receive extra weight in the Best Costume contest. And the Lamest Costume contest.”
Organizers say the festivities will have something for everyone.
“There’ll be the costume contests and conch racing and conchy-tonk dancing for the adults,” Goldie Goby said. “But we’ll have things for the kiddos, too, like trick or treating, bobbing for lionfish and a dodge-conch game. We recommend helmets for that one.
“There’ll also be all kinds of conch-related food available,” Goby said. “The booths’ll be selling conch fritters, caramel-dunked conch-on-a-stick and fresh-pressed conch cider. And we’ll use all the empty conch shells for the conch-o-lantern chiseling contest.”
Others highlighted the Heritage House’s transformation into a haunted house.
“Lots of folks say conchs aren’t scary, but we got some surprises lined up,” master of haunts Edwin Chub said. “I can’t talk about ‘em, but Conchie monster’s gonna give some people the bejeebies. After they crawl in through that tunnel lined with wet turtle grass. And when things are over, we’ll have a Samhain, conch-harvest bonfire out on the beach.”
Some in the community were critical of the events.
“Celebrating pagan holidays and making light of devil worship is inappropriate and not what this island should be focused on,” the Reverend Pierre Grunt said. “As ever, we’re turning the church into a Hell House, with separate rooms graphically displaying the horrors of each of the Deadly Sins. I just hope we get some visitors this year.”
Many residents are looking forward to the activities.
“It’s always cool to see what kinds of gnarly costumes people come up with on this little rock,” Alison Diesel said. “Linford Blenny’s still banned after last year’s jerk-o-lantern costume. That one landed him in hoosegow overnight for public exposure and public drunkenness. Personally, though, my favorite part of Halloween is the trick or tequila-ing.”
Recent internet accounts of carcinization have Blacktip Island residents concerned friends and neighbors might rapidly morph into crabs. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/BTT staff)
Recent news stories regarding carcinization—the convergent evolution of some species into crab-like forms—have Blacktip Island residents on edge this week, worried friends and neighbors might become crabs.
“Started with a special on one of those science channels, then it popped up all over the internet,” Linford Blenny said. “That’s when folks started noticing. Everything in nature eventually turns into a crab. It’s an evolutionary advantage. It’s happened in at least five different waves. That we know about.
“Thing is, what happens when people around you turn?” Blenny said. “Could be anyone, anywhere. Some Blacktippers already have a crabby look about them. Already changing. What’s that mean for the rest of us? Am I gonna turn into a crab? These’re scary times.”
Some residents weren’t surprised by the news.
“Happens here all the time, you just don’t hear about it,” Leigh Shore said. “Starts with fingertips and toes and spreads out. Crabs run the island, y’know. Land crabs take care of things topside, clinging channel crabs rule underwater. It’s spooky, but a good thing long term. Keeps the island clean. And you see those red crabs on the road, you know a hurricane’s coming. Antonio Fletcher? He’s a crab.”
Fletcher confirmed the claim.
“It’s true. Been a crab for years now,” he said. “Got to have a hard shell to survive on this island. Insults bounce right off me, and I can hunker down in any strong wind. Always know when a big storm’s coming, too. I give folks the warnings, use my evolutionary advantage for good.”
Others refuted the idea.
“Carcinization involves certain decapod crustaceans evolving into crabs, not people turning into crabs,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine science professor Goby Graysby said. “If ‘Tonio’s a crab, why does he not look like one? And how can he talk? He’s quite plainly a person. A crazy person, but a person.”
Fletcher stood by his assertion.
“Those who have eyes can see,” he said. “Can’t argue with people who don’t want to hear the truth. Goby’s got a right to his opinion. I got a right to be a crab. And I’m not telling him who the other crab people are. Won’t let him mock them like he does me.
“And if people can’t become crabs, what about Harry Bottoms?” Fletcher said. “He turned all flat and hard-shell and crawled into the booby pond last year. You can see him when the water gets low in the dry season, scuttling around out there like the king of the pond.”