Taro - Like the bread fruit is another staple of the Samoan diet. Taro is a root (tuber) and is very starchy and much denser than a potato. Taro can be found growing on almost everyones land and is present in every Sunday umu (underground oven). It gets roasted, boiled and fried, but we prefer the boiled or fried chips. Taro is quiet dry (and relatively tasteless) and roasting it makes it so dry it's impossible to eat without something moist to accompany it.
Taro is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and is a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and Manganese.
The picture above is the taro field on our street/driveway. In addition to the root, those big leaves are also eaten and can be found in every umu. Most commonly the leaves are used to make a pouch which is filled with coconut cream and onion then wrapped in tin foil and roasted. It's called palusami (pah-lou-sah-me) and often provides the moisture to help wash down roasted taro.
There is one more way taro is eaten, the cooked taro is mashed up with water creating a paste called poi (p-oy). This isn't very common is Samoa, but is a staple in other Polynesian islands like Hawaii (their taro is purple, ours is grey/white). Poi can also be left to ferment and then eaten as a good pro-biotic. It kind of has the texture of runny mashed potatoes out of a box.... and it tastes like what ever you add to it... salt, bananas etc.
NOAH NEWS: Noah has a 3 molars which are halfway in and swollen. This lead him to stop chewing and eating food properly which gave Mom and Dad a horribly scary moment when he choked! Dad quickly gave him the upside down, back pat, Heimlich move you're supposed to give babies and he cleared the blockage with a glorious scream. That'll get your heart rate up.
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: The TAX MAN cometh!! In a most disturbing revelation I have learned that the government here forces people to use all the tax codes from the year 2000 when filing! That's 15 years of unaccounted inflation and a lower deductible! We are all paying WAY more than we should be... or that we would on the mainland anyway. It's pretty sad because low income folks (the majority of the population) are hurt the worst by it and have no clue they are being screwed.... although I may have stirred the pot on this one a bit! Let's hope they don't deport me.
The Jaskowiak Family
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