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Oisin Davis stirs it with the stars

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - BOOKING THE COOKS -

T HIRTY SEC­ONDS into my in­ter­view with Toots Hib­bert, we both re­alise that we’re hav­ing a ma­jor com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­down. I’m hav­ing se­ri­ous prob­lems get­ting my head round his Ja­maican ac­cent and my Ir­ish brogue isn’t help­ing things on his end.

But once we re­solve to chat at an ex­cep­tion­ally slow speed, the lead singer of Toots & The May­tals and I are fi­nally off to talk food and mu­sic. Ac­tu­ally, the de­cel­er­ated con­ver­sa­tion makes it all the more en­joy­able. Hear­ing him list off all the ex­otic Ja­maican fruits and veg that he was raised on is com­fort­ably hyp­notic and makes one yearn for a hol­i­day.

“Co­conuts, guava, pineap­ples, callaloo, yams, bread­fruit, ac­kee, June plums. All them won­der­ful tastes of the Caribbean.” He had me at guava.

When we get round to dis­cussing his

mas­sive body of work that goes back as far as the early 1960s, he tells me it’s his 2004 al­bum that he’s most proud of.

“Ev­ery­body from Keith Richards and Manu Chao to Bunny Wailer, work­ing with all them greats. Such a beau­ti­ful bless­ing.” Add to that list other luminaries such as Bootsy Collins, Bon­nie Raitt, Eric Clap­ton and Ryan Adams, and you can see why he likes that al­bum so much. If any of them were re­ally lucky, then he would have made for them one of his favourite Ja­maican dishes. Grilled goat fish and plan­tains, a some­what more trop­i­cal ver­sion of the hum­ble cod and chips. Give it a go. It’s prob­a­bly as close as you’ll get to any sun­shine this sum­mer.

Toots & The May­tals play Liss Ard Fes­ti­val on Sun­day, Au­gust 5th. For more recipes, see rock­cook­book.com

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