I Thank God Whenever I Put a Pot on the Fire:Fay-Ann

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By Kimberly Wallace, HER Magazine

FAY-ANN Lyons-Alvarez is one of the most charismatic persons in the entertainment industry. She’s also a multitasker; balancing her time between family and soca stardom. But there is one detail about the soca icon that her fans are well aware of; Fay-Ann loves to cook and is partial to freshly cooked meals which she prepares herself. She has been known to fix up a quick meal for those in her inner circle rather than opt for fast food. There are some who in the name of female empowerment reject the image of a woman in the kitchen which in recent years has been associated with domesticity, even oppression. But Fay-Ann sees things quite differently. We all need to eat to survive and thrive. Therefore she views the act of taking a medley of ingredients and turning them into a meal that can sustain and nourish herself and her family, as empowering.

Learning to cook was also an act of independence. While her mother Lady Gypsy (Lynette Steele) sang in calypso tents in Port of Spain at night, Fay-Ann and her siblings were at home in Siparia. Dinner was not going to materialise out of thin air. It fell on Fay-Ann’s shoulders to cook. At the age of 11 she already knew her way around the kitchen.

Over the years Fay-Ann turned what began as a chore, into one of her passions. She cooks practically every day- except when she makes soup – that usually goes into the next day. It would be fair to say cooking for loved ones is among her love languages. “I just love cooking for my family – and you get more bang for your buck. I’m not telling people not to go out and buy food. For me personally I love the energy of seeing the family come together, being in the kitchen, hearing the excitement building and finally sitting down to a hot meal,” she says.

At the end of each day there are few things she loves more than enjoying a home cooked meal. However, her meal of choice might surprise many. “If there was one meal I could eat for one month straight, it would be yam and butter,” says Fay-Ann. “Our local yam is among the best, it tastes so good.” Fay-Ann has already started sharing her passion for cooking with her 13-year-old daughter Syri, even though they have very different palates.

“I’ll be passing on my skills to her-100 per cent!” says Fay-Ann. “Our daughter has a very refined palate, she likes exotic things like eel and escargot which we don’t buy here. When we travel, the hotels serve those things. So as she gets older we will be showing her how to make more economical meals which she can cook when she goes off to college in the future.” Cooking for her family is a blessing, says Fay-Ann.

“There are people who are fussy about cooking every day. But I know that there are millions of people around the world who are giving their families whatever they could put their hands on, and it may not be nutritious, healthy or even sanitary. We on this side of the world know about hardship but not on the same magnitude as what is happening in other countries. So being able to prepare a home cooked meal is a blessing from God, it’s his way of telling me: “I’m giving you the opportunity to make your family healthy and make sure their nutrition is taken care of,” she says. “Sitting down as a family is an honour and a privilege, so many people in Ukraine and around the world can’t sit down and eat, they are running for their lives. So I thank God whenever I put a pot on the fire.”

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