I was born on the small island of St. Lucia, in the Caribbean, in a very small house with six other siblings. My father was a farmer who planted vegetable gardens and fruits, and raised domesticated animals, such as pigs, goats, sheep and chicken. He died at the young age of 35, when I was only 18 months old. Later, my only sister immigrated to London and left behind her three young daughters, which my mother and I cared for, customary in the Caribbean in those days. With only my mother and siblings present, I did most of the domestic chores, such as sewing, house-cleaning, baking and cooking.
One of my early jobs was working at a local St. Lucian bakery as a cook. At the bakery, I cooked stews, and baked bread. I remember the bakery had one of those old brick ovens, shaped like an igloo with wood and charcoal inside. The wood was burned in the back of the chamber and evenly created heat throughout the oven. While at the bakery, I baked cakes for special occasions, such as first communion, confirmation and baptisms and especially enjoyed decorating the layers! Over the years, I have called on this early experience to bake cookies, bars, pies and rolls and it has continued to be a passion of mine. It informs my cooking and the recipes I share with you in my cookbook, Anne Marie’s Favorite Family Recipes with a Caribbean Twist.
With my husband of 50 years, a former US military member, and my children, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin in the 70s. When I arrived in Madison, one could not find Caribbean foods in the local grocery stores. Thankfully, over the years that has changed significantly and now I have a local Caribbean community with many families and a place we call home. Sadly, in 2017, I was diagnosed with a benign meningioma tumor. I underwent a series of doctor visits and treatment, including neurosurgery. Read more about this difficult journey and the important lessons I learnt about brain health in my book, Protect the Brain with Meningioma Surgery. At that time, I also had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, which I was able to control and reverse with many life changes, highlighted in my second book, Positive Affirmation - Fear No More: Memoir.
Now I am retired and I enjoy the pleasure of sharing more about my own journey to and in the US, what I have learned over the years and what has helped me battle the various diseases and illnesses that often plague our ability to live well. I do this in honor of my mother and siblings, whom I have lost over the years, hoping that this will improve your lives and those of whom I love.
Read more about my story in my books, available on Amazon, BNB and Walmart.
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