All posts filed under: Tuvalu


Monday Meal Review: Tuvalu

  In times of plenty, it’s easy to forget about times of scarcity. When we have electricity, we forget what it feels like to read by candlelight (or not at all). When we have food, we forget what it feels like to not know where our next meal will come from (if we ever knew what that felt like at all). When I was a tiny tot, I spent some time in a homeless shelter. My mom was a single mom, doing the best she could (I love you, mom!), but one thing led to another and we found ourselves on the street. I don’t remember those days – I was too little, but mom does. She remembers, in particular, the long lines to get into the shelter, and the congestion once inside. She remembers not knowing what the next hour would hold, let alone the next day. Soon after, a friend took us in and mom gradually saved up enough money for us to get our own place. We persevered with assistance; I remember …

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Coconut Banana Fritters

I don’t usually pick my Friday afternoon snacks based on Prince William’s and the Duchess’ eating habits, but this week I couldn’t help myself. The royal couple were fed these amazing fritters during their stay in Tuvalu. What an endorsement. If they’re good enough for royalty, they are good enough for me. Trust me on this: each bite will transport you to magical Tuvalu, way out in the Pacific, where the sun shines brightly, the water sparkles like a smile, and every day feels like a vacation. They are indulgent in the most unapologetic way possible. The fritters contain many local ingredients, most notably coconut and bananas. Not just any bananas, my friends. These are nice, ripe, bananas. After a quick dip in bubbling oil, the fritters emerge soft in the middle and crisp and nut-brown on the outside. A heavy dusting of powdered sugar later and they become the perfect tropical doughnut. Makes 8 large, 12 small Ingredients: Vegetable oil, for frying 2 ripe bananas, rough chopped For the batter: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 …

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Tuvalu Tuna

If you ever make it to Tuvalu, you might as well snatch the Tuna straight out of the water, fillet it in the boat, and enjoy the mild fish right then and there. No cooking required. That’s the local way. But for those who are looking for something a little more tame, Tuna Curry is an authentic, delicious option. The recipe is very typical of the Pacific: it includes locally caught fish and coconut milk from harvested from the in the back yard, plus a bunch of imported ingredients. Imports are necessary because very little can grow in Tuvalu. The curry powder exudes Indian influence, which runs rampant in Oceania, as well as soy sauce, a definite nod to Tuvalu’s Asian neighbors. Even things like ginger and garlic are imported. Shipments of goods arrive once a month, weather permitting. This means, if you’re pantry runs dry, and the store runs out, then you’ll just have to wait until the giant vessel anchors offshore. And when it does? All hands on deck… Recipe adapted from Andy Explores. …

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Menu: Tuvalu

Ever wonder how an island nation forms? There’s an old Tuvaluan legend  that claims the first inhabitants of Tuvalu were ladies named Pai and Vau. Pai and Vau held baskets of sand. The grains that fell out of those baskets are said to have formed the neighboring atolls (the tiny coral reef islands we learned about yesterday). I love this image. It really goes to show how a little carelessness – something as small as a slip of a basket – can have far-reaching effects. Of course, all this island-making leaves me wondering: what did Pai and Vau ate after making the islands? I’d like to imagine, something like this week’s menu… We’re celebrating the food of Tuvalu with a big bite of local Tuna and doughnut-like banana fritters. This is comfort food, meant to be enjoyed with the salt of the sea on your lips, and a smile in your heart. Even more, we have it on authority that the dessert is fit for the prince of England and his bride. So, it stands …

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Funafuti in Tuvalu looking south. Photo by David Arfon Jones.

About the food of Tuvalu

This week we’re scooting out into the Pacific, all the way to Tuvalu – a country which is as much fun to eat as it is to say. I wasn’t convinced I’d find much info on these water-lapped islands, especially considering Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world – behind Monaco, Nauru (also in the Pacific), and the Vatican City. It is made up of just three reef islands and six atolls. An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef like these: There’s generally a lagoon inside. Not a lot of room for growing food. But it does make for some awesome roads. Then I stumbled across Andy Explores and I knew everything would be okay. In this fun spirited blog (by a Boy Scout, no less), Andy takes his readers through his year in Tuvalu. Stories include learning to fish, cooking like a local, waiting for the monthly food shipments (literally just once a month), meeting the epic Graham Hughes (one of two people who have been to every country in the world, including the amazing …

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