Friday, February 24, 2012

Visited Guam in 1792

Guess what?

We didn't always eat fried chicken and red rice.

Antonio de Pineda describes for us, in a diary he kept when he visited Guam in 1792, what Chamorros ate in those days.

He says the main food was atuleAtule is any available grain or root (corn, rice or even gapgap or arrowroot flour), cooked in water to make a kind of gruel or porridge.  Salt is added and maybe some coconut milk.  Otherwise, it would rather tasteless.

Corn was brought to the Marianas by the Spanish, probably because of the significant number of Mexican soldiers stationed on Guam, some of whom married local women.  Atule comes from the Mexican word atole.

The Chamorro diet was also heavy into the other roots and fruits of the island : dågo, suni, lemmai, nika, fadang and so on.  Kamute, by the way, or sweet potato, was also imported to the Marianas from South America and was not eaten by our ancestors before contact with the West.

A special treat was a dish made of finely ground rice, coconut meat and coconut water.

I doubt you could get our young people today to eat these dishes on a regular basis.

M, m, månnge'!

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