A sack and a bowl of pressed manioc, being sifted through screen to make gari.
I had another manioc adventure a few weeks ago, when I had the opportunity to participate as a cooperative I work with made gari, which is dried, powdered manioc. It’s one of my favorite Beninese foods.
The first step is to have the manioc mashed, which the group paid to have done elsewhere, so I didn’t see that step. We started with large sacks packed full of the smashed manioc, which we broke up into chunks and then sifted through screens.
The woody cores and other remainders on a spare screen. These were fed to the chickens and goats. The sifted manioc is flaky and light.
After sifting the fine powder went over the fire into a big metal pan, where it was toasted until thoroughly dry.
The last step was to put the toasted powder on plastic in the sun. I couldn’t quite figure out what this step accomplished… maybe it was just cooling off?
This is the area where we worked, which is a large courtyard within the cooperative president’s family compound. Most of the day, nobody was willing to be photographed (hence the headless photos), but I was allowed to take this non-close-up shot.
For eating, gari is sprinkled on beans or rice and mixed in with the sauce. Sometimes it is moistened with a little palm oil first, which makes it extra tasty. Yum!