Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Banana patch cleaning and some tentative banana identifications

On the 18th of November the SC/SS Ethnobotany class cleaned up the banana patch, which continues to be overrun by Clidemia hirta, and I worked with the students on identifying those with fruit or flowers.

This banana at N 6° 54.663' and E 158° 9.329' provoked the most discussion. The location best matches a rhizome planted by Roxann Moya and thought by her to be karat. Clearly this is not karat. The initial determination was kerenis, although another thought it might be uhten wai, which would be a AAA Cavendish. A third student thought it was simply a young uhten ruhk. Utin kerenis, which may be a reference to Kapinga, is an AA; Pisang Raja banana by my sources. Utin Ruhk is an ABB Saba banana.

The same banana at N 6° 54.663' and E 158° 9.329'.

Another view of the banana at N 6° 54.663' and E 158° 9.329'.

The above banana at N 6° 54.670' and E 158° 9.328'well matches the location of an uhten rais planted by Karmi Soar at N 6° 54.670' and E 158° 9.330' . The student concurred in the uhten rais apellation.

Uhten rais at N 6° 54.670' and E 158° 9.328'

Uhten rais at N 6° 54.670' and E 158° 9.328'

Uhten rais at N 6° 54.670' and E 158° 9.328'

Although not fruiting, the banana at N 6° 54.671' and E 158° 9.330' appears to roughly match the location of an uhten menihle planted by Joey Seiola. Some students said this was an uhten kuam which they claim is the same as an uhten menihle. My sources say both are AAB; Silk but finger is longer in utin kuam (source spelling), menihle has a smaller finger. That kind of distinction could come down to soil differences.

 Virginia Sartilug.

 Judy Ligohr
 Judy Andon, Shirley-ann Rudolph

 Katielyne Nianugmwar

 Rockson Salihk, Katielyne

 Melody Tulenkun

 Jake Manuel


 Dwayne Hadley

 Gary Totong


 Joemar Wasan, Dwayne

 Judy Ligohr

 Marvin Louis


 Jennnifer Panuelo with a knife, Kanio idle in the background

 Arnold Panuelo, observer only

 Katielyne and Andrea Ewarmai
 Judy Ligohr, left, and Judy Andon, still working when most were now resting including Maylani on the left in the background. Dwayne, Marvin, and Joemar were also still at work.
 Dwayne still working
 Judy Andon also still working

 Jake cleaning up around a Daiwang in the background, Ronda up front.

 Fence damage.

 Daiwang, AAB; Pisang kelat bananas

 Jake Manuel and Dwayne Hadley cleaned up around the Daiwang banana planted at at N 6° 54.673' and E 158° 9.332'. Rockyner Hadley claimed to haveplanted a Daiwang at that same location in the corner, coordinates then of N 6° 54.674' and E 158° 9.333' Dwayne identified the bananas as Daiwang before knowing that Rockyner had planted a claimed-to-be Daiwang, so that seems to be confirmatory for me.

There are more to be identified, but without fruit this is difficult. The Clidemia hirta may be allelopathic and slowing the growth of some bananas.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ethnobotanical foods of Micronesia

Food presentations in SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany on 14 October 2014.

Although the Kosraean students presented a dish that they referred to as fahfah pot, Kosraean sources who sampled the dish after class noted that the dish was ainpot usr, not fahfah pot. Most critically, the bananas were boiled, not cooked in an um, which is one of a number of distinctions between fahfah pot and ainpat usr. Either the presenters were themselves misinformed or they were confused as to the distinction is not clear. Either way, the mistaking of one dish for another is another example of the loss of cultural information and language that is seen most heavily in Kosrae.

Three presenters, part of a generation for whom theie own language and culture are slipping away, Ronda, Melody, and Jake.

Uter kemelis made from mwahng saleng, a variety of hard taro.

A Mwokillese variant of uter kemelis.

Dwayne Hadley brought a third variant that was made with no added sugar. Modern taro ball recipes often include added sugar.

Jackson, Ruthy Phillip, and Jennifer Panuelo present their taro ball recipe.

Uht sukusuk, pounded boiled banana with coconut milk topping.

A less visually appealing presentation of uht sukusuk.

Kanio and Marvin.

Judy Ligohr, Judy Andon presented koroi pali - banana half boat.

Shirley-Ann looks on as Judy Ligohr writes on the board.

 Judy Ligohr

Koroi pali is produced by cutting the banana in half, grinding half, mixing that half with coconut milk, and then putting the banana back together, wrapping in foil, and boiling.

The taro balls, although made from the same basic ingredients, all came out with vastly different textures. This is why the food presentations require bringing the food: the same ingredients and same processes still produce uniquely different foods.

Katielyne, Kevina, and Virginia shared onouneot (outer island name) leleth (main island name), a coconut candy made from grated coconut and caramelized coconut tree sap. Copra is grated and dried, then rubbed in one's hands to make it smaller. Coconut sap is then cooked down and caramelized (nuuhr in the outer islands, leech on the main island, related to the Kosraean fafa topping el). The candy was carried by men on long fishing voyages.

Andrea Ewarmin and Katielyne Nianugmwar.

Onounet, leleth, an island confection. The ball is hard and crunchy.

Eliza and Rockson present a taro dish with a coconut milk topping.