3 Cassava and Mischief

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Grater board
Manioc pulp in basket
Press frame
Basket of manioc tubers
Cassava griddle
Cassava bread
Manioc press
Manioc pounder

Cassava and Mischief

The scene shows a typical working day for women processing bitter manioc (Manihot esculenta) into the round cassava breads that were a staple of Lucayan diet. 

In the right foreground, large basketry containers hold manioc tubers, scraped clean and ready for the grater board, which the kneeling woman is working with. The resulting pulp is passed to the standing woman who packs it into a long, woven tube before hanging it from the wooden frame beside her. She will pass the Y-shaped pole (currently tied to the framework) through the tube’s bottom loop; when she presses down upon it, the tube tightens around the manioc pulp, squeezing its poisonous juices out into the ceramic bowls at her feet.  

What is left is raw flour, which is ground and sifted, before being passed to the women cooking in the nearby shelter. The flour is spread thinly over a griddle and toasted on both sides before being put onto the thatched rooftop to cool. A pair of parrots (guacamayas) and dogs (aon) keep the women company as they work – both were kept as pets by the Lucayans.

The “mischief” in the title refers to the two mischievous boys who pester the women at their work until their aunt gently admonishes them to behave. This scene would have been a regular, potentially daily, occurrence, from processing the manioc roots to making the fresh, toasted bread, to the pleasant social interactions and distractions that made light the work. 


Unit 3a: Cassava & Mischief, all (JPG, 1.2 MB)

Unit 3b: Cassava & Mischief, most  ​​​​​​​(JPG, 0.8 MB)

Unit 3d: Mischief and Packers 1 ​​​​​​​(JPG, 0.6 MB)

Unit 3e: Mischief and Packers 2 ​​​​​​​(JPG, 0.7 MB)

Unit 3f: Grater and Bakers ​​​​​​​(JPG, 0.8 MB)

Unit 3g: Grater & Mischief & Packers ​​​​​​​(JPG, 0.7 MB)