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Flavors are a blessing from the Lord. I remember when we began teaching our tribal friends beginning in Genesis, we taught about how God created all the different kinds of foods for us to eat. How God prepared a place for humanity, specifically at first for Adam and Eve, because He loved us. He gave us papaya and sugar cane and sweet potatoes, greens, honeycomb, pandanas, breadfruit, and the list goes on and on. How often we take for granted all the flavors and variety of foods that the Lord has given to us for our nourishment and for our enjoyment.
I guess we can all think of some foods that are special to us. Foods that we don’t eat on a weekly basis, maybe foods that are seasonal or eaten only on holidays. Our tribal friends have a few of these. The boys and I had a good laugh as we remembered the first time we encountered these different delicacies. : )
Mock Sausage: When a pig is butchered, the intestines are stuffed with sweet potato leaves, red chiles, and salt and then baked in a pit with the rest of the meal.
Salt Alternative: I was walking home with a friend from the garden when she spotted a tree limb covered with leaves that were the home of some little squirmy caterpillars. She pulled off a leaf, scooped up the caterpillars from the other leaves, and wrapped them all up all the while telling me that they are salty and if you cook them with your sweet potato greens you don’t need to add salt.
True Bug Mints: There are a type of true bugs that our friends occasionally eat that have a nice minty taste, so they say. : )
Mushrooms: When the lovely mushrooms pop their heads above the ground, they are quickly snatched up and roasted over a fire or cooked in a pit and enjoyed by all. I would say this is a rare treat on our mountain, definitely seasonal. Often bad experiences become the source of a really good story and a good laugh. Just recently some ladies brought back some mushrooms to our hamlet to roast. Grandma quickly informed them that even though they looked like the mushrooms they often roast, they were different and thankfully she didn’t eat any. However, several ladies didn’t heed her warning and became violently ill. I heard someone throwing up the night before and asked the next morning who was sick, which brought everyone laughing so hard they were in tears. I am just glad they lived to tell about the whole ordeal! Note to self: Watch out for the mushrooms!
Jerky: Hunters often hunt away from the main villages, so they need to dry the meat that they catch. The drying process goes on for days as they travel. Then once brought home the dried meat is sometimes cooked again in a pit for a feast so that everyone can enjoy the fruits of the hunt. This makes for some very dry, very chewy, oftentimes unidentifiable meat.
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