Thursday, April 28, 2011


I wish the good Lord had designed the lemmai to grow every month of the year, but alas it doesn't.  It is just beginning to mature on the tree, sagging its branches.  I've already eaten one that has matured this early in the year.

Lemmai is one of the foods our ancestors ate, long before the Europeans came.  Our ancestors baked them in earth ovens or chåhan, using heated rocks and large leaves to keep in the heat.  For the months when lemmai was lacking, lemmai chips were dried and preserved that way, although I wonder if our forebears also used the method employed by many other Pacific islanders, which was to ferment the lemmai and then later bake them, ridding it of its unpleasant odor due to fermentation. 

Mexican soldiers on Guam introduced the beehive oven (hotno) and our people started to bake lemmai that way, or deep fry them.  Lemmai can also be cooked "gollai appan" style, that is, with coconut milk.

Lemmai Gollai Appan
About as indigenous as you can get
No ingredients have to be imported

As a kid, I wasn't very fond of man åmko' food (dågo, suni and titiyas mai'es, for example).  I went for the rice, meat and potato salad.  But even in my childhood I always appreciated the fragrance of lemmai and now, in my lifestyle of eating as naturally and as organically as possible, I eat lemmai with relish, especially the Palau variety.  I simply steam it and moisten it with low-fat spreads.  With a normal serving of lemmai, you get 48% of your daily Vitamin C requirement, 20% of your daily fiber requirement, a bit of potassium and not a whole lot of calories, unless you fry it or add coconut milk.

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