"COALS OF FIRE": NEW BOOK FOCUSES ON DEVELOPMENTOF THE FIREPLACE IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
Cedar Tree Books, a publisher based in the UK, has just published a newbook by Verna Penn Moll titled "Coals of Fire". In her own wordsMrs Penn Moll says that she "firmly believes that recording the culturalheritage of a country plays an important role in its development and identity".In fact she is well known for having compiled a seminal bibliography ofthe Virgin Islands as well as numerous books on the BVI and neighbouringislands.
In this book she reminds us of the contributions the earliest VirginIslanders, the Arawaks and later immigrants, Europeans and Africans, playedin developing the fireplace, as they experimented and invented ways to upgradecooking facilities. In the process, Penn Moll unearths several illustratedisland-variants which have never been documented before and while the authorshares the ingenuity of Virgin Islanders with her readers, she records forus an important segment of Caribbean cultural history.
The variety of ovens and fireplaces examined by Penn Moll is enormous,from Bedouin Earth Ovens, African Ant-hill Ovens, to the more familiar Coal-potStove and Modern Cookers. Specific chapters deal with baking cassava bread,cooking utensils, calabash, cooking apparatus, mortar and pestle, charcoal,lime burning, grinding stones, and shells used to serve or cook food. Firemyths are also examined. The book ends with a glossary, bibliography andan appendix on fire in religion.
The 94-page book benefits from many illustrations, including maps andartwork by local painter Joseph Hodge. As a source of information of differentaspects of domestic traditions "Coals of Fire" is a first-classaddition to the book shelf of those interested in the old traditions ofthe Virgin Islands. The subject matter is presented in a captivating manner;the binding is solid and the publication is well produced.
"Coals of Fire" [ISBN 0 9529269 1 2] is available in Tortolaat Heritage Book Store and National Educational Book Store; overseas buyersmay contact by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org