This past weekend, I stepped away from my mountain retreat of Fort-Jacques and headed towards the Center of Haiti to a small town known as Belladere. When we hit the road, I was not sure what to expect upon my arrival there.
I was far from imagining that my life with peanuts as I knew it was about to be forever changed. Forever changed because, for the 20+ years I had been consuming peanuts in different forms, I had never once stopped to wonder how these nuts actually came to life. Don’t get me wrong, if you were to ask me I would definitely tell you they came from a peanut tree and add a “duh!” to that answer, but that’s as far as my knowledge of a peanut tree went. A real tree was what I thought of when I pictured peanuts in my head. Never once would I have imagined that peanuts actually came from a plant, which fruits grew in the ground.
I am still shaking my head in disbelief as I am enjoying some mamba piqué and crackers with my morning coffee as I commit these thoughts to paper. How could I have gone so long without this fact? How is it that even some of the adults that surround me had not known it either? How is it that they didn’t teach it to us in school, or did they? The mamba I am enjoying came from the ground! That’s something worth teaching, dear high school biology teacher. Maybe, just maybe, I would have hated talking about plants in class a little less…Then again, probably not.
I can hear some of you saying mockingly “I knew that, how did she not know??” Well, we can’t know it all, now can we? For example, what if I told you, non-Haitian readers, that our favorite ways of eating these nuts include grilling them in salt, or cooking them in syrup to make douce pistach, and as a mamba that is nothing like the peanut butter sold abroad? Wouldn’t you be learning something new?
Our mamba is salty and is at its best when it is prepared with our piment bouc that turns it into a deliciously spicy peanut butter that goes extremely well with, wait for it, wait for it….butter!!! Yes, spicy peanut butter with butter is one of the best treats I had as a kid growing up in Haiti. If you read my article about our most versatile snack, cassava, you knew that already, but I need to feel like I am not the only one discovering something this week. So at the risk of repeating myself on this blog, I will say it again, you haven’t experienced peanut butter unless you had it spicy and with butter.
Hope I have instilled some new knowledge in some of you. And for those of you still smiling or laughing at my expenses, please stop making fun of me. After all, it is a good thing that writing this blog is increasingly becoming a learning experience for me as well, isn’t it?