Event Title

Cho-cho, Chayote, Huiscil? How did the "vegetable pear" enter Brazil and become a common and culturally significance food commodity?

Location

Bobo Room, Hodgin Hall, Third Floor

Start Date

8-11-2017 12:30 PM

End Date

8-11-2017 1:30 PM

Description

The chayote is a vegetable widely consumed in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Documents suggest chayote was first cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Colombian Mexico. In Brazil, where it is known as xuxu, or chuchu, this vegetable-pear is a common side dish for lunch and dinner. Chuchu with shrimp, for example, is a dish not only touted as a signature of Brazilian gastronomy, but is also associated with Candomble ceremonies. Candomble is a complex and popular Afro-Brazilian spiritualism with direct ties to Africa and the Atlantic slave trade. The term chuchu (xuxu), off the plate, is also a term of endearment in Brazil! Recent work by geographers and historians, such as Dr. Judith Carney and Dr. Chris Duvall, re-examines the significance of African knowledge and agricultural practices both in Africa and in the Americas. Emerging work on cultural identity through food practices, or how and why people eat what they eat, helps us understand how people can retain tradition and understand evolutions in agriculture. Food and how it is shared and understood often, thus, become a form of resistance and resilience. We've learned how varieties of rice in the Americas arrived in thanks to African slaves and how manioc became a staple food in Africa in thanks to Portuguese transport from American soil. We look down at our lunch plate and can tell the stories of beans, farofa (manioc powder), rice- but what about chuchu? Sources gloss over and/or are inconsistent as to how this vegetable arrived in Brazil. Further,how did it become a symbolic Afro-Brazilian dish? And how did chuchu evolve into "cutey"? Only research, and more access to literatures, primary documents and scholarly work produced on various continents might answer these questions!

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Nov 8th, 12:30 PM Nov 8th, 1:30 PM

Cho-cho, Chayote, Huiscil? How did the "vegetable pear" enter Brazil and become a common and culturally significance food commodity?

Bobo Room, Hodgin Hall, Third Floor

The chayote is a vegetable widely consumed in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Documents suggest chayote was first cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Colombian Mexico. In Brazil, where it is known as xuxu, or chuchu, this vegetable-pear is a common side dish for lunch and dinner. Chuchu with shrimp, for example, is a dish not only touted as a signature of Brazilian gastronomy, but is also associated with Candomble ceremonies. Candomble is a complex and popular Afro-Brazilian spiritualism with direct ties to Africa and the Atlantic slave trade. The term chuchu (xuxu), off the plate, is also a term of endearment in Brazil! Recent work by geographers and historians, such as Dr. Judith Carney and Dr. Chris Duvall, re-examines the significance of African knowledge and agricultural practices both in Africa and in the Americas. Emerging work on cultural identity through food practices, or how and why people eat what they eat, helps us understand how people can retain tradition and understand evolutions in agriculture. Food and how it is shared and understood often, thus, become a form of resistance and resilience. We've learned how varieties of rice in the Americas arrived in thanks to African slaves and how manioc became a staple food in Africa in thanks to Portuguese transport from American soil. We look down at our lunch plate and can tell the stories of beans, farofa (manioc powder), rice- but what about chuchu? Sources gloss over and/or are inconsistent as to how this vegetable arrived in Brazil. Further,how did it become a symbolic Afro-Brazilian dish? And how did chuchu evolve into "cutey"? Only research, and more access to literatures, primary documents and scholarly work produced on various continents might answer these questions!