Saint Lucia’s Amerindian food Heritage: Cassava
Saint Lucia was first inhabited by the Amerindians; Ciboneys, Arawaks and Caribs. Though there are none of these native Saint Lucians left, their way of life is still visible on the island.
Cassava, yuca or manioc
The Amerindians were known for bringing cassava, also known as yuca or manioc from South America. For as long as I can remember Saint Lucians have cultivated the crop and used it as a source of food. In its raw form, cassava can be poisonous. It therefore has to undergo a heating process in order to make it edible.
Cassava cereal: Farine
In Saint Lucia, cassava is used to make a cereal called farine which comes out in grainy powdery consistency which is eaten with warm milk and sugar. Cassava is also transformed into round flat cassava bread , which are traditionally salty, but are now made with sugar, with some persons even adding raisins and cherries to it.
Preparation of the cassava mainly takes place traditionally in an on old metal pots, where the cassava is heated and dried over a charcoal flame.
You can purchase cassava cereal/farine and cassava bread at the Castries market from vendors who come from all over the island to sell their produce or from vendors who walk around the island carrying it in baskets on top their heads.