A twitter-essay on Beras Perang, unpolished, unbleached, lightly milled local long grain rice.
Beras perang tampi di nyiru,
Tumpah melukut merata-rata.
Haiwan yang garang lagi diburu,
Siapa takut semut melata?
Bamboo thrusts dramatically out of the soil, clean, symmetrical, very sharp. The shoots grow fast, shooting over my head within a matter of days. Only once they have reached their final height, long slender swaying canes 25 feet tall, will they leaf out and send stiff woody side branches out from the nodes. They can grow so fast because all […]
A banana leaf wrapped and held with lidis could hold just about anything. In this case, it holds tapioca root, ubi kayu, that has … crossed over. Normally a dense, bland, starchy tuber considered poverty food or at best home cooking, it is transformed into a pillowy soft sweetness soaking in a fiery liqueur
“Take the parang beneath the stairs
Use the whetstone on an edge grown dull.
That faith be kept safe in prayer
Prostrate daily five times in full.”
Gardening in the tropics is a constant battle against the jungle. Being properly armed means carrying a machete. From Brazil to the Congo to the island of Borneo, farmers wield some form of long, sturdy knife for slashing and hacking back the relentless encroaching green. The Malaysian machete is the parang.
“As large as papaya, as small as keranji,
Break a branch and the fruit falls down
A face so lovely with manners so ugly
Is like rain falling murky and brown”
Growing papaya, or betik, from seed is easy enough – sow them on loose soil straight from the fruit and they’ll come up without trouble. The tough part is figuring out if your tree is a boy or a girl…