Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dinner with Cyrielle and Rita

This is Cyrielle and Rita, who invited us to their home because we helped them move.  Cyrielle was recently baptised.  He is a wonderful man, a physician at a hospital in Pointe Noire.  He speaks at least 5 languages.  They were gracious hosts who prepared a lovely and delicious meal.  Before we ate, they served cold Beesap (a non-alcoholic drink made with blossoms from a flowering bush) and a delicious platter of beautifully presented sliced, boiled eggs with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers & French bread.

As we started to eat, a picture was in order, so we could remember all this great food - a great, authentic African meal.  In the bottom left is manioc, which is made from cassava flour and steamed for several hours.  In the enter, is a platter of beautifully cooked and decorated fisth.  The two pots have a type of beef stew and chicken with sauce.  Here is some information from Wikipedia:
The cassava is an important source of dietary carbohydrates in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world, with its roots providing food for over 500 million people.
  It comes with hard and starchy white flesh. This vegetable is the basis in the making of cassava flour. The cassava contains a strong poison, cyanide, which needs to be eliminated during the preparation of the flour. This is done by cooking or fermenting the vegetable. Drying and grounding comes next. The cassava flour or gari is now ready for storage or use.
   The cassava or manioc plant has its origin in South America. Amazonian Indians used cassava instead of or in addition to rice/potato/maize. Portuguese explorers introduced cassava to Africa through their trade with the African coasts and nearby islands. Africans then further diffused cassava, and it is now found in almost all parts of tropical Africa. Africans adopted it for several reasons: The cassava plant is possible to cultivate in shifting systems and it gives flexible harvest. Furthermore it is resistant to locust attacks and drought. Today Nigeria and Congo-Kinshasa are great producers of cassava, next to Brazil. Mostly grown small scale in compound gardens and consumed locally but also on a bigger scale in some countries.

This picture gives a better view of the fish and another look at the smiling faces of some elders who are starving after a long day of working in the cartiers (neighborhoods).

Cyrielle is from The Central African Republic and he made his favorite dish from there, which has potatoes, banans (plantains), and a sauce with peanuts in it.  There is also a blue bowl with freshly made FuFu.  Here is some inforation from Wikipedia, about FuFu:

"...fufu is usually made from cassava, yams, and sometimes combined with cocoyam, plantains.... made into powder/flour and can be mixed with hot water to obtain the final product.... Often, the dish is still made by traditional methods: pounding and beating the base substance in a mortar with a wooden spoon. In Western and Central Africa, the more common method is to serve a mound of fufu along with a soup (ọbẹ). After washing hands, the diner pinches off a small ball of fufu and makes an indentation with the thumb. This reservoir is then filled with soup, and the ball is eaten. In Ghana and Nigeria, the ball is often not chewed but swallowed whole - in fact, chewing fufu is considered a faux pas. Therefore fufu not only serves as a food but also as a utensil.  A selection of soups that could be served with fufu includes but not limited to: light (tomato) soup, palm nut soup, groundnut soup, and other types of soups with vegetables such as okra, nkontomire (cocoyam leaves). Soups are often made with different kinds of meat and fish, fresh or smoked."

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