Local foods of Micronesia in ethnobotany class

This term rather than a walk and talk about the role of food in memory and a sense of well-being, weather conditions during the week suggested an alternate start in the computer laboratory and the use of a playlist of videos to convey the same information. My own head cold on Tuesday permitted me to use myself as an example of not being able to taste food, and to make the point that taste is really the brain lying to you about the source of taste. Taste is really smell, which the brain then imputes to the tongue.

Thursday the students brought a local food to share.

Rohtamahn mwahng

Emerika brought rohtaman mwahng, rohtama made from hard swamp taro.

Vincent and Shane presenting banana chips: uht prain

Jamie and Kimsky with tapioca

Also known as moanioak, which derives from the name manioc. Tapioca is also known as mendioka on Guam, which is very similar to the Brazilian name mandioca. In Ecuador the plant is known as yuca, and in west Africa as cassava.

Oven baked tapioca starch

Jade and Darion also presented tapioca

Darion's fluency in Chamorro permitting sharing the name of this dish up in the Marianas, apigigi. This variant was baked in an uhm using a banana leaf.

Megan Ruth and May-me

Megan Ruth and May-me had hoped to present kon from the Mortlocks, but the delay in the arrival of the ship by one day prevented this from happening. They noted that kon is prepared differently in the outer islands than techniques used in the diaspora on Pohnpei. This creates a variation of the dish. Were the outer islands to become uninhabitable due to sea level rise, these unique variations on dishes would likely be lost, another of the many losses that climate change threatens to bring to these islands and their cultures.

Idihd en uht: mashed banana

Johsper, Sandralynn, and Pelida presented the idihd en uht

Sharisey presented Kosraean taro balls

Kosraean taro balls with coconut, known as kuhlamihs. One of the learnings Sharisey shared is that the grind for kuhlamihs is a fine grind to make a smooth taro ball.

Nipwigin marr

Rennie Glen and Kira presented Nipwigin marr: fermented breadfruit

Nipwigin marr is a dish requiring a long process. The breadfruit is put in a bucket for three days, then stirred, left for three more days, stirred again, and this process is continued until the breadfruit is both soft and smells fermented. The breadfruit is then transferred to a sack and squeeze rinsed with water. The breadfruit is then kneaded. Sweet tuba is added, balls are formed, and the dish is boiled in water. The result is a wonderfully creamy smooth lightly fermented breadfruit, a real treat and the kind of food that one would be homesick for in the years to come.


Shanaleen and korapali

This dish is half a banana ground, half unground as a "boat" like shell, reunited and boiled. Fun and tasty.

Japanese rice cake: mochi

Kiyoe presented mochi, a Japanese rice cake treat with adzuki bean frosting

Kiyoe and visiting integrative medicine specialist Mabel with mochi

Note that this term I opted to mark all presentations at 10 points each, other days are five points each. This "flattens" out the marking, slightly increases the weight carried by the midterm, essays, and final, and increases the impact of regular daily attendance. The food presentation did not carry the 21 points implied by the rubric, just ten for being a presentation.


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