Ce blog a pour vocation de découvrir Tahiti et ses îles, bien sûr, mais bien d'autres endroits et bien d'autres choses aussi partout ailleurs. Et puis, surtout, les gens qui font que le monde est ce qu'il est.
Histoire(s), géographie, modes de vie, cultures et phénomènes de sociétés : Le monde est vaste et riche et ses habitants tellement beaux et divers, alors laissons-nous aller à leur rencontre...
Des journalistes voyageurs vous parlent de la Terre et de ses habitants à leur manière…
At random vessels sailing Pacific during the last
third of the twentieth century, the “Sao”, a cracker, intended first for the
long-haul fleets as "sea biscuit" for its conservation, approached
the continent of the Oceanian Islands.
It has been gaining in
popularity during the 1914-18 World War, entering the "Poilus"' package
and the civilians' ordinary fare (traditional home) as "war biscuit".
Since, it formed part of breakfasts, lunches and late-night snacks, typical of
French Polynesia today. It's still widely consumed.
A pioneer baker's
The Sao generations, aren't a myth. Much of the population was brought
up on Sao. Caledonians joke thus: "Two glued to butter, three exploded in
bowl." Over 50 years, it has been regularly imported and a branch of
Arnott's biscuits is located in Titioro valley at Tahiti.
But to whom do we owe that
famous Australian cookie which replaced the evening dinner in poor families?
A William Arnott…
Arnott, a baker's apprentice, immigrated onto the southern
Australian coast, at Maitland (New South Wales). He tried without much success,
as a gold prospector, while developing his small bakery. It was carried away by
a violent flood. Sao's fate could be stopped there, suddenly
overwhelmed by the waves. But, it didn't count on its inventor's determination.
Ruined, he moved to Newcastle in 1865, thanks to friends' loans.
Arnott's brand was born.
William Arnott rebounds with his label "Arnott's". The
little shop of "biscuit creations", was transformed into advanced
factory! The firm, using steam engines, relocates to the economic capital,
Sydney, securing its indisputable prosperity. For the record, thanks to his
tenacity and the quality of his products, but also because of his undeniable
integrity, William repaid until his last debts. And definitely he played a
Flooding Maitland, in1893
Today, besides the aura of its philanthropic foundations, gender cracker
is flourishing. It diversifies for toddlers. It also complements appetizers and
cold starters. But this step brings about another era, one where nutritional
habits mimic the American way, with its excess fat of store-bought sauces. In
spite of the introduction of tomatoes and salad with local hydroponics, it
increases the constant nibbling and the easy overnutrition.
The Sao in Tahiti and its islands...
Let's back to these
Sao-generations, when the economy is out of whack and doesn't benefit from the
effects of CEP, except for the increase of imports and the recession
of staple crops (coffee, copra , various vegetables and uru flour)...
When vanilla, taro and coconut doesn't yield a secure income for a family farm,
nestled on a hillside, Sao is relatively cheap. It has spawned a new food
attitude. Lola's Grandma had her "recipes", easy for all ages and all
purses. Our raromata'i friend (native from Taha'a), swears by the
cookbooks ever written by her grandmother.
Suitable for pupils who have
few time to wake up, swallow a little quick lunch before joining the road to
catch the truck (schoolbus): early in the morning, in a bowl of cold milk, sweetened
as desired, crumble Sao and let it absorb the liquid. Take time to see the
level of milk until it’s reduced. The content is like a cove whose icebergs
overlap. Mix again. The more it's thick, the more it's nutritious. Enjoy with a
Later today, dry, Sao is an
appetite suppressant when you put the pick or machete down. It can be spread
with cold "punu pua'atoro" (corned beef). It can accompany a banana or
another fruit. The salty-sweet contrast stirs the taste buds.
For children's snack, it's a
reconstituting with mango compote or all kinds of tropical jams (pineapple,
passion fruit, guava, tamarind, lime green, soursop, papaya...). Everything
depends on the resources of your fa'a'apu (vegetable garden). The peanut
butter is a luxury or overpriced. And if the harvest is consistent, honey is
welcome. But it's scarce because of the pesticides that decimated the bees.
In lean times, the Sao dipped
in sugar water is a substitute for any meal worthy of the name. Eaten cold, it
thickens these sorts of fresh soups at the end of hot days. Somehow, the
equivalent of the traditional Berrichon mijo. Economic,
fast and nutritious. The peasants of yesteryear, in all latitudes, possessed
In the evening, after sunset, in hot coffee, it gives a boost to workers
who grab some hearty breakfast the next day, as usual.
The real Sao-generations count
about over three decades. At a time when the food fashion involved a certain
austerity. Sao was a kind of exclusive. No frills. Of course, it put on hold
the traditional lavish breakfast. The generation after takes advantage of
opportunities and nutritional temptations, tinged with Asian cooking on the
capital island, Tahiti. But it suffers from a nutrient imbalance and
compensatory manias that result in a tendency to the overweight. This scourge
affects many children!
So, what uncovers this
rectangular cracker whose overall appearance is not uniform? The matt crust
cookie has a mildly neutral taste. His weight lightness combines with its
virtue of wholemeal bread. Crispy, crunchy, it's a feast for the teeth.
Suddenly silent if it's well moistened. Practical, it slips easily into a bag
or schoolbag. And in Sao-generation's memory, it acts as emotional delicacy,
linked to childhood.
A feast of
A page of history is turned.
The Sao episode enters a new cycle. Such as rice, inducted from the Asiatic
cohabitation, it's a part of everyday life. Contrary to what might be expected
of a food ingredient, it's becoming commonplace with the utmost discretion.
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