Elsie, 86, still cooking for her Toco cafe

Elsie London,  86, in the kitchen of her food court in Toco. - Angelo Marcelle
Elsie London, 86, in the kitchen of her food court in Toco. - Angelo Marcelle

IN Alensdale, Toco, just about a two-minute drive before the Toco junction, Elsie London has marked her spot.

Elsie’s Food Court, a cosy little cafe with a small kitchen and dining area, is one of the many attractions the village has to offer.

Sitting at the front of the cafe watching people go by, London calls herself a "mover," having worked in cocoa, coffee and coconut estates in her much younger years.
At 86, she still has pep in her step. The speed at which she got off her chair to serve customers was amazing, and she giggled when complimented about it.

“I was born in 1934 in the village of Mission (in Toco). At least that's what they say. I got my first food badge in 1985, but I was selling food long before that. I was cooking since I was six years old. I had to: if I didn't cook, I didn't eat.

"I make pepper sauce, tamarind sauce, mango jam, kuchela, red mango, coconut drops, sweet bread, and all different kinds of lunches."

On Sundays, she said, she prepares traditional foods such as stew chicken or pork, fish, callaloo, macaroni pie, provisions, dumplings, rice and salad.

Elsie London, 86, at her food court in Toco. - Angelo Marcelle

"During the week you can pick up some pelau or cow heel, depending on the day that you visit."

After being shuttered for a few months, she only recently reopened the cafe.

“I only started back a few days ago. My husband died about a month ago and I now decide to start back.
"He got like a baby. You know they say once a man, twice a child. Well he got back young. He would have lived longer, but he did too much chupidness."

Her husband, George Byron, died at 89.


"Elsie, 86, still cooking for her Toco cafe"

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