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from: all over Africa | cooking method: various

Breadfruit

The breadfruit tree grows 12 to 18 meters (40 to 60 feet) high and bears a roundish green-to-brownish-green fruit with a white starchy pulp. The fruit is always cooked before being eaten. Breadfruit should be cooked as it begins to become ripe. Fully ripened, mushy, breadfruit is not as good. There is a native African species of breadfruit (Treculia africana), but it is not an important food crop. The breadfruit most often cultivated in Africa are the South Pacific varieties. These may have been brought to Eastern Africa in medeval times by Arabs, Persians, or Malayo-Polynesians. Later they were introduced to Western Africa by Europeans, some time after the famous voyage of Capt. William Bligh in the HMS "Bounty".

river and forest, west africa.

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Margaret Meyers

My father's favorite food

Swimming in the Congo by Margaret Meyers (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Milkweed Editions, 1995) is an autobiographical novel about a daughter of missionaries in the Belgian Congo, where her father enjoyed breadfruit:

Breadfruit. My father's favorite food. ("Artocarpus incisa, technically speaking, but I call it 'Manna from Heaven' myself.") My father liked to roast a whole breadfruit in a campfire until the thick green skin was nothing but flaky ash. Then he'd crack it open, cover the steaming white flesh with butter and salt, and eat it with his fingers. "Junie," he'd say, his eyes closed and butter dripping from his chin, "even if all my Rhode Island Reds die of sleeping sickness, even if soybean farming never catches on, we're going to stay here forever. I'd die of breadfruit deficiency anywhere else."
[Sea of Iniquity]


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