“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”
– Rachel Carson
This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you would like to join in on the fun, you can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.
The food the Peruvians have been using as a staple crop for millennia is maca, or maca root, which is usually dried and ground into a powder. In that form, it can be used to cook into soup, smoothies, and baked goods, although they say the gelatinized form is more potent.
Potent as what? Well, South Americans view the food supplement as medicine. Descendants of the Incas–the Quechua Indians — have used the plant that comes from the radish family medicinally since ancient times. The root is high in copper, calcium, and iron and it’s said it was used to increase fertility and for energy. The Incas used it to ready themselves for battle. Farmers feed it to livestock to increase the chance for fertility, and women used it to ease menopause or alleviate menstrual problems. Those suffering from fatigue, anemia, osteoporosis, also used it to treat their symptoms.
Outside of Peru, many others who are health-conscious, use it in smoothies, oatmeal and desserts. Western fans, like myself, liken the flavor to malty caramel, but others find it ‘earthy’. I always added it to my smoothies when I wanted that malt-like flavor. It gave me energy, and may have contributed to increased sexual activity, but I am not sure if my memory serves me right, I’ve slept since then. 😉
Maca’s earthy, nutty flavor blends well with chocolate and almond, so chocolate “malts” (sugar-free for me) would be delicious. It can also be added to muffins, breads, cakes, and cookies. Even keto versions of these sweet treats can be made better with maca. The Peruvians even made a sort of weak beer with the root of the maca, they prepared it by chewing the starch to initiate fermentation. (Yuck) It was called chicha. People who live in Huancayo, Peru are fans in particular of maca-based jams and puddings.
It’s ideal growing environment is an altitude of 13,000 feet in the Andes. Since the climate is harsh, maca was one of the few plants the Andean plateau dwellers could grow successfully. It has since gained the reputation as a “superfood”. It is shelf-stable, making it ideal for baked goods and/or thickening porridge or it can be used as a coffee substitute when roasted. Hmmm. Never tried that one!
I found in my research a delicious coffee alternative drink I will just have to try! Find the recipe here! Find maca on sale at iHerb for $6.61 for the 4oz. bag, or $20.88 for the 16oz bag. It is the more potent gelatinized powder.
Science has yet to substantiate many of the health claims, yet preliminary research has demonstrated the effects beyond a placebo. Initial studies suggest that it may benefit postmenopausal women in particular. Maybe several millennia of medicinal uses might be rooted in ancient truth after all.
Kangaroo meat, otherwise known as “Gangurru” is the star ingredient of the Lillipad’s signature burger, featuring Indigenous Australian wattleseed. This gives the burger hazelnut-bitter notes, and it’s topped with juicy bush tomato relish and finger-lime mayo.
This brunch and lunch spot, located in the Glebe Market area of Australia, is owned by Nyoka and Laszio Hrabinsky who are making indigenous “bush tucker” food famous, like gangurru and cinnamon myrtle, Davidson plum, and macadamia nuts.
Nyoka is an ethnobotanist from the indigenous Yidinji nation, who learned how to use these ingredients in her food by observing her elders as a child in her community in Queensland.
Working with native peoples, she documented and preserved their plant knowledge and heritage to eventually bring bush tucker to urban Sydney in the form of burgers and breakfast treats. If you find yourself in Sydney, Australia, have a go at sampling this interesting sounding food and hop on over to the Lillipad Cafe.
Wow, oh wow! This is some serious candy making right here! Check out the video at the end of my post, it’s long, but magical!
A couple of legends surround the origin of Dragon’s Beard candy, the most popular being the story of a Han dynasty emperor. It’s said that after eating hand-pulled sugar, the white wisps stuck to his face resembled the whiskers of a dragon. Yet another is that the candy was named after the symbol of the Chinese emperor, the mythical dragon, that is, because it was so special and labor-intensive that only royals could enjoy it.
Luckily, these days anyone can eat it and it can be sampled on the street corners all over Asia and in Chinatowns all around the world.
The process in creating such a simple, yet complicated-to-make confection owes much to the theatrical presentation as to the painstaking process, as some vendors add heir own special touches, including entertaining narration and special effects. For example, Roger Poon, a candy maker in Singapore adds liquid nitrogen to create billows of smoke mimicking “dragon’s breath” that customers can blow out. (Warning: Health experts say eating liquid nitrogen might burn your throat and skin.) (Click on the link to see the smoke eaters live at the bottom video of the post featuring Roger Poon)
The process starts after simmering and cooling the sweetener into a hard gel, then shaping it into a ring that they fold again and again into figure eights until they’ve separated it into thousands of fine hairs. The slightest misstep can destroy the strands, so confectioners must use patience and great care. They then wind the strings around a filling like crushed peanuts, coconut, or sesame seeds to form a sweet, delicate nugget.
The ephemeral treat is super sensitive to temperature and moisture, so even though you might be distracted by it’s beauty, gobble it up quickly with your hands and don’t forget to wipe away your dragon’s beard when you’re finished!
These tasty treats can be found in China, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong. However, if you’re in Canada, you may be in luck! Visit Bonbons a la Barbe de Dragon- 1014 Rue Clark, Montreal, Quebec, H2Z1j9, Canada
What a memorable weekend this has been, as we participated in the festivities known as Bass Camp in Lake Fork.
Fabulous hosts, cooks, fishermen, singers, and just altogether interesting people gathered to fish, eat mouthwatering food, sing and visit around the campfire, play games, and even follow the golf tournament on a camper’s outdoor tv.
This gathering may not appeal to everyone, but we feel very close to these people, and we meet more of them each time we attend. This weekend was no different. Welcome Ginger and Miles to your new home at the point on Lake Fork! I’m so envious, and y’all are going to be so happy there. I hope one day we find a place just as cool so we can be neighbors!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the new couple, or their cute little fluff balls, but I’m hoping someone else did and I’ll share it later. Honestly, I didn’t get many pictures of people, because I was, and have been, so amazed by the beauty of this place.
I wish I could have captured the sparkles as they danced off the water, mesmerizing me as I watched my bobber wiggle on the ripples caused by the on again off again breeze.
I ate so much good food, I gained another two pounds! Worth it. I will just have to work that much harder to get it off, but it was so relaxing to eat whatever I wanted and enjoy it.
The campfire was not only beautiful but necessary, the nights were very cool. After the meals, this is the favorite hangout place. Special packets were tossed in last night.
Last night capped off the weekend with conversation and music around the campfire as we all told stories and sang along as best we could. Yes, there was drinking, but no one got rowdy or caused any trouble. This is a responsible group.
This morning, it was hard to leave after having such a good time, but we thanked our hosts and offered to help clean up before we left. It wasn’t required, so we were off. The wildflowers on the ride home were spectacular, but I only managed to snap a quick shot of and abundance of bluebonnets.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my recap of our fun long weekend at Lake Fork in Yantis, Texas. Stay tune for tomorrow’s #A to Z Challenge post. You’re going to love it!