Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, October 19, 2009

1920’s KILIMANJARO PART 8: THE BANANA’S IMPORTANCE

Most cultures have some staple food that forms the basis of the meals. We equate Asian food with rice, Irish and Germans with the potato, and Mexican and some North American Indian cuisine with maize. For the Wachagga on Kilimanjaro, the plantain upheld the role of a food staple.

In the villages that dotted the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro, every married man had his own plot of land which was either passed down from father to son or given to him by the Wachagga chief as a gift when the man purchased a wife. Grains and a coffee tree occupied part of the land as did yams, but plantain trees held the most ground. Not only was it food of itself, but when fermented, it formed a thick beer. If the plantains were green, they were boiled or baked as a vegetable much like a potato. “The unripe fruit, too, may be dried in the smoke of a fire, then ground to powder and made into a hard biscuit; so it supplies his family with bread.”

Parts of the plant became fodder for cattle, goats, and sheep. The leaves made bedding, and the “tough, withered covering of the banana stem is used by the Mchagga to thatch his house and to make such string as he needs.”

The wide, cylindrical trunk worked as a conduit pipe to run water from the streams to the gardens and, when cut in half down the length, could be dragged full of supplies as a sort of wheel barrow. Even storms weren’t a problem since a broad leaf formed a five foot umbrella.

The quoted text was taken from Africa’s Dome of Mystery, by Eva Stuart-Watt.

NEXT WEEK: More Kilimanjaro lore.
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

Jade del Cameron, 1920, Africa, Tanganyika, Tanzania, Eva Stuart-Watt, Kilimanjaro, Treasure of the Golden Cheetah, Wachagga, banana, plantain

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