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  • Writer's pictureM Smith

Trini Doubles - A Tribute to David.

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

When I first began working at a CPG company in 2018, David was one of the first people to greet me. I would never have survived at that company without David. We carpooled together because David lived a few blocks from my house, and the commute was an hour and a half on some days. We ate lunch together, went for coffees together, volunteered together, vented our frustrations about work, and hung out on weekends when we could.

On one of our early commutes home, a month after we started working together, David took me to a restaurant that served Doubles. Doubles is a popular street food in Trinidad & Tobago. I mean, it’s so popular that David told me there’s a whole street dedicated to Doubles. I was excited to try it for the first time, and of course, it was delicious.

What I remember most about that evening was David’s laughter and his excitement in sharing his culture with me. We would end up having many meals this way. When I switched jobs, I didn’t see David as much, even though we lived so close to one another. It was one of those things, we were still friends, but life gets in the way of communication some times. In February, on David’s birthday, I messaged him, and we chatted for a bit. He wished my husband a happy birthday since they were both February babies and told me he was going back to Trinidad for Carnival. We said we’d try and get together when he returned.

David and his wife Jess tragically passed away in March of 2020 while they were in Trinidad, right before the pandemic hit. I remember the exact moment, where I was, and what I was doing when I got the phone call from our mutual friend JH.

David was special. He brought people together, the way sharing a meal bonds people together. A year later, it’s still heartbreaking to know that I will never share another meal with him.

When I began researching how to make the Doubles, I found there were so many different ways to make the channa and the bara, that I quickly became confused. Some people make their channa with canned chickpeas, some with dried. Some made their channa with potato and mushier than others. Even the bara was made differently, as some called for baking powder while others said it would make the bara heavy. I also couldn’t find all the correct ingredients and substituted where I could.

Of all the street food recipes I have made, this one was the hardest. I wanted to ensure I got it right and stressed about this recipe and making it. I didn't do too bad, but it wasn't perfect. I enjoyed the taste, as did Cameron and my neighbours Kevin and Teresa. For a first try, I think David would have been proud; however, he’d have a lot of feedback.

  • My channa was too mushy, I left it on for too long and most of the chickpeas were not whole

  • He’d tell me I put too much turmeric in my bara.

  • He’d say to me they were good and but that I could do better - that was David’s way. Always honest, and everything was a learning opportunity and everyone could always improve.

I adapted my Doubles from Chef Brigette Joseph recipe. - I’ll link the video. I know I usually include my own version of the recipe, but Trini food is not my specialty, and I’ve not done this recipe justice yet. This is one recipe I will definitely revisit; after doing more research now that I know the basics. Maybe when I do a second round of popular street food eats.

I’ll include some pictures of me making the Doubles for some visuals!


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