Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Conference and Jamaica

It's been a challenge keeping last month's promise to post 2-3 recipes a week. I've managed so far, but now through June 15 are busy with conferences and travel, and I make no promises until I return in the middle of June. The exciting thing is that, barring the unforeseen, I plan to be in Jamaica the second week of June. This is somewhere I've never been before! I'll get to taste some Caribbean things I've only read about or eaten in U.S. restaurants. Since the last few weeks I've been immersing myself in cassava (e.g., manioc, tapioca, mandioca) history, I'm especially excited to taste bammy and cassareep. Also, I've always wanted to see how the dish callaloo compares to Ghana's nkontomire stew. The bottom line is, postings will be irregular at best, and likely will not include recipes. Consider me on vacation for a couple of weeks, but I will post as I am able.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tapioca Project and Cooking Contest

This week in Rio has been filled with fantastic opportunities to get to know Teresa Corção and Margarida Nogueira and their Manioc Project. The day after arriving I had the great good fortune to attend the 3rd “tapioca cooking contest” (a light, magical cassava “pancake” cooked without oil) held as part of their work with children, especially those from the favelas:

Their project has been so enthusiastically received by the children and the schools that Teresa and Margarida now have a bigger dream: to expand “Projeto Mandioca” to other cities and states in Brazil, beginning with São Paulo. They plan to develop materials to train and equip teams of qualified volunteers to duplicate and replicate the projects on a wide scale. Already they’ve worked in 6 schools and reached at least a thousand children. These dream-makers deserve our support and encouragement. Read (in Portuguese) more about the foundation they have just established, the
Instituto Maniva, to make it possible.

How does this relate to Africa? Teresa and Margarida are acting locally, but they are definitely thinking globally. They want to see the love of and respect for manioc (e.g., cassava) spread everywhere, moving beyond Brazil to Africa. After all, Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of manioc (cassava), and it was Nigerian poet Flora Nwapa who wrote the ode to cassava, Cassava Song and Rice Song. Let’s join them and dream together.

Another joy in Rio was to eat at O Navegador, Teresa’s world class restaurant (with its incredible organic salad bar ,".org") where I enjoyed a highly sophisticated version of a tapioca pancake with black sesame seeds and rock salt (and filled with bobo de camarão, a cassava puree with coconut milk, red palm oil, and shrimp, along with a little cilantro, onions, etc., and garnished with a sauce made of cherry tomato and pimenta biquinho). They also served the best pão de queijo I’ve tasted in Brazil. Now I have all these wonderful cassava recipes I hope to adapt and introduce to Ghana in January!

Labels: , , , , , , ,