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Friday, June 25, 2010
Island kakae (food)
The people of N Ambrym went all out in their preparation of food for us. For what is available this time of year, we were given good variety of foods and were certainly never hungry. If anything, there was continually far too much for us to begin to eat everything, which was a bit of a dilemma. They were very concerned that we like the food so we continually ate to bursting to prove we did indeed, enjoy it. Mornings meant hot water and baked little bread rolls made by John in the village. Lunch and supper were divided between 5 groups in 3 villages so sometimes Rambwe cooked, sometimes some from Ranon did, and sometimes a group from Lonbwe did. My favorite was going to someone's home to eat, which we did 3 times. It meant being able to eat just until full (as they'd be finishing the rest) and enjoying storying with them for awhile, as well as sometimes being able to help with prep or clean-up. Our main foods were taro, yam, manioc and rice. Quite often we had minute noodles with a bit of canned tuna thrown in. Also pumpkin/cooking banana laplap (see pictures) was common, as was island cabbage and cooking bananas. I LOVED getting the island cabbage and also fairly often some pomplemouse (sweet grapefruit). Every so often there was some local chicken and a papaya. Once someone brought freshwater prawns enough for everyone to try one. YUM! And of course, there was the wild pig we had on our way out which had amazing flavor. Local butchering is pretty different than in the States as pieces are just cut wherever they go and all parts are eaten. And of course wild meat (including chicken) is somewhat tough, but the pig even without seasoning was worth the gnawing it took to eat. I've put pics of the pig here but please be aware that they are graphic shots so don't watch if you're squemish or don't want kids to see.