Casabe: Garífuna Yucca Bread

Did you know that "Garífuna" has been translated, "people that eat yucca"? Yucca is a important staple of the Garífuna diet. The root is boiled and the starch is used to make breads, soups, tapioca, and wash clothing! The most common dish made out of yucca is a flat, cracker-like bread known as casabe in Spanish and ereba in Garífuna. The Arawak Indians of Guyana, Surinam, and Venezuela first developed a sophisticated technology to process the yucca and make casabe. This custom was carried to the Antilles Islands in the Caribbean when the Arawak started migrating in 160 A.D. When Garífuna descendents were exiled to Roatan in 1797, the British transported the yucca plant and farming tools to Honduras to preserve traditional ways.

Today, this traditional bread is served at many Garífuna rituals, including the sacred dugü ceremony. The preparation of casabe is a two-day labor of love. In this time, the Garífuna women sing songs of hardship, of their husbands and sons departing and being left alone to maintain their fields, families, and communities. Through these songs, the Garífuna women release their pain and find renewed strength in their solidarity as sisters united in a common struggle. Continue! Learn more about this cultural tradition and how Garífuna women sing during the grating process to heal their pain.

Continue! Did you know that yucca is a poisonous root that contains cyanide? Learn what ancient technique the Garífuna use to extract this poison and prepare casabe. Accompany Garífuna community members as they show you step-by-step how to make casabe. Buy fresh casabe online!

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