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Hit-Or-Miss

9 Awesome Foods from Black Cultures You Need to Know

Yes, black cultures. The only universally shared experience of being black is the oppression associated with it. A multitude of diverse cultures thrive in spite of the obstacles thrown their way and in no place is this more evident than in their cuisines.

Here are some foods either originally cultivated by black people or that emerged from slave trades to embed themselves in these specific cultures.

Watermelon

watermelon

OK, let’s get this out of the way. Although watermelon has been stitched into negative narratives about black people, the fruit is rooted in African heritage. Originating in southern Africa, watermelons became domesticated farther north on the continent when extreme desertification hit Saharan Africa. Often used as a canteen of sorts in tropical regions, watermelons have been given many uses from jam to meal made of ground seeds.

Soupikandia & Okra

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Deeply embedded in southern American Creole culture is the spicy goodness that is gumbo. Many of the dish’s great qualities are attributed to French influences despite the majority of the cuisine stemming from African and Native American dishes. Gombo is the French word for okra, derived from the Luba (a Congo tribe) word ngombo. Slaves brought the vegetable to America and it acts as thickening agent in most versions of gumbo (if you’re not using okra, I have no idea why you’re calling it gumbo) and its African predecessor soupikandia.

Soupikandia has an earthier taste than the piquant gumbo and is still consumed in West African nations.

Yams (Not Sweet Potatoes)

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Unless you live in West Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, or frequent grocery stores serving those communities, you’ve probably never had a yam. When African slaves were exposed to sweet potatoes on farms and plantations, they just called the similar-looking tubers yams. Naturally, this was also exploited for financial gain in the American South and is still a marketing tool (and an example of the USDA’s laziness) used to differentiate sweet potatoes.

Real yams tend to be sweeter than sweet potatoes and can’t survive in most of the US. Depending on the variety, they can achieve a dessert-like sweetness, but are more often used to make porridge and to enhance fish stews.

Coffee

loved import coffee beans

The coffee plant has always grown wild in Ethiopia. Although there’s some beef between the nation and Yemen over the discovery and cultivation of coffee, most signs point to Ethiopia, while Yemen gets the distinction of the mocha birthplace. Origin myths from both countries involve animals getting over-caffeinated and people dramatically throwing beans into fires (Disney probably already has the movie rights).

Coffee cultivation began in Ethiopia around the 9th century and remains a major part of the country’s economy. It accounts for about 25 percent of the nation’s export earnings while supplying 15 million people with jobs.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia

Macadamia nuts are so special that some people lose their minds (and jobs) over simply plating them. The Bauple tree that bears the magical nut was discovered by the Kabi tribe, an Australian Aboriginal sect, around 30,000 years ago.

The macadamia nut was so treasured by the Kabi that they settled throughout the area of the rainforest where they naturally grew and traded with other tribes for high quality goods and tools.

Australian Aborigines lived largely off of bush foods until British colonizers introduced various modern cooking methods. Domestication of the macadamia nut is largely a white man’s tale, but its difficult-to-reach location and many similar, inedible sister tree nuts would make its cultivation difficult without the assistance of local Aborigines.

Sorrel

sorrel drink

Jamaican Sorrel was actually taken over from West Africa and both regions often use the hibiscus plant to make a tea-like beverage. Often combined with ginger for an added kick, sorrel is popularly drunk throughout the Caribbean during Christmas festivals.

The rich red color of the drink, along with its easy pairing with alcohol, make it a go-to beverage for celebrating on cooler winter nights.

Roti

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The farther south you travel in the West Indies, the more you start feeling like you’re in the East Indies.

Brief history lesson: when European traders and conquerors first interacted with the Indian sub-continent, they attributed races to the people currying favor toward the lighter northerners and associating the southerners (labeled Dravidians) with blackness and inferiority.

This kind of thinking made it pretty easy for the British Empire to swoop in later and stop treating Indians like people, but I digress.

Islands like Trinidad and Grenada are mostly comprised of African or Indian descendants, oftentimes a combination of the two. This, along with their close proximity to South America, results in a unique intersection of cuisines called the “roti.”

There are several types of roti, which really refers to the flatbread used to make it, but what you’ll usually get if you don’t specify is essentially a curry burrito. Chickpeas, potatoes, meat and sometimes other vegetables are wrapped in soft white flour flatbread and cooked on a tava for a subtle crispness. The flatbread itself is more pliable and flaky than most tortillas, which also makes it a popular choice for breakfast rotis.

Vatapa

Vatapa

I couldn’t possibly end this list without an Afro-Brazilian dish. As one of the most well-known cultural melting pots in the world, Brazil is certainly a mecca for fusion cuisine enthusiasts.

In the Bahia region of Brazil, which produces the most African-influenced dishes in the nation, this spicy, pungent peanut sauce is traditionally served with meat or fish. Its creation is very closely related to several ground nut stews and sauces popular in West and Central Africa.

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Features

12 Human Foods You Didn’t Know Could Kill Your Dog

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The most important thing with pet care is knowing what you can and can’t feed your dog. That and capitalizing on your puppy for hilarious memes. As long as you stick to a pretty decent doggy diet, everything should be gravy right? Wrong. Turns out there’s a ton of foods you probably didn’t know about that can actually be really bad for your dog, including some that are perfectly healthy for humans.

After all, there’s nothing worse than having your dog suffer over a simple mistake in diet. While they’re still man’s best friend, they probably shouldn’t eat like your best friend. Because we at Foodbeast care about you and your canine companions, here are 12 human foods that your dog should most definitely avoid.

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Chocolate

Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the most common foods that is bad for dogs, so we figured we’d knock it off the list early. Dog owners know better than to leave a Toblerone or two laying around.

What’s In It:

Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which fall under the methylxanthines category. When we hear the phrase “the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous,” it’s because white chocolates contain fewer methylxanthines. Thus, less toxicity.

What It Can Do:

If eaten by a dog, chocolate can cause vomiting, dehydration, abdominal pains, severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, elevated body temperature, seizures and death.

H/T ASPCA

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Milk

cereal-tea-milk

Yeah we know, puppies drink milk from their mothers after they’re born. However, like humans  (including moi), dogs can also suffer from lactose intolerance.

What’s In It:

Milk contains milk sugar that dogs don’t have the enzymes to break down.

What It Can Do:

Consumption of milk could lead to vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. While it’s not immediately life-threatening, it can contribute to serious bacterial exposure in dogs that could eventually lead to disease.

H/T Can I Give My Dog

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Cheese

Nachos

Sorry boy, no Grilled Cheese Spot for you. Your stomach will thank me for it later.

What’s In It:

Like milk, cheese also has sugars and fatty components that dogs don’t have the necessary enzymes to break down.

What It Can Do:

Cheese, and other dairy products, can cause problems if consumed in excess. Symptoms like gas, diarrhea and vomiting can all occur if a dog eats too much cheese.

H/T Dog Food Advisor

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Onion

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While onions go with pretty much anything savory, they can do more than just make your dog cry.

What’s In It:

Onions contain compounds that can be harmful to dogs if ingested enough.

What It Can Do:

Onions can damage red blood cells in dogs causing them to become weaker and move around less. If enough onions are consumed, a blood transfusion might be necessary.

H/T No Longer Wild

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Macadamia Nuts

Macadamias

One of the more recent discoveries, Macadamia Nuts can be incredibly harmful to dogs if eaten.

What’s In It:

The specific chemicals found in macadamias are still unknown right now, but they are known to cause a toxic reaction to dogs if ingested.

What It Can Do:

Dogs will develop weakness and an inability to walk, specifically in their hind legs. Vomiting, staggering gait, depression, tremors and hypothermia.

H/T VetMedicine

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Garlic

Garlic

Consider your dogs vampires and keep them away from raw garlic as much as possible.

What’s In It:

Like the chocolate rule, the stronger the onion the more toxic it can be. Since garlic is part of the onion family it’s even more dangerous to dogs than onions per ounce. Garlic contains compounds that are strong in toxicity.

What It Can Do:

While the effect of garlic consumption to red blood cells won’t appear for a few days in dogs, they’ll be tired and reluctant to move. The dog’s urine will be orange to dark red in color. Like with onions, a blood transfusion might be required in severe cases.

H/T ASPCA

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Grapes

Grapes

Like Macadamia Nuts, grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to dogs.

What’s In It:

While its currently unknown what chemicals and compounds are in grapes that cause toxicity to dogs, the results of consumption can be pretty devastating.

What It Can Do:

Grapes and raisins can cause rapid kidney failure. While it varies between dogs, symptoms may not show up in them. Other than kidney failure, dogs can also develop vomiting or diarrhea as well as a lethargic state. Dogs will also develop dehydration and lack of appetite. Death from kidney failure may occur within three to four days.

H/T ASPCA

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Avocados

Slices of Avocado

You might want to hold off sharing that guac with your doggy pal. He’ll thank you for it later.

What’s In It:

Avocado leaves, pits, bark and fruit contain a toxin called persin.

What It Can Do:

Avocados can have toxic effects on dogs depending on the variety. They can cause upset stomachs in dogs, breathing difficulties, fluid buildup in the chest, but the most dangerous thing for them seem to the be the pit. Since it’s slippery, the pit can accidentally be swallowed by dogs, leading to obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract.

H/T HubPages

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Apple Cores

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While most people try to avoid eating the core of an apple, it’s actually much more toxic to dogs. Along with a few other fruits, you should definitely be careful not to leave apple cores laying around for dogs to get their paws on.

What’s In It:

The core of an apple (as well as plums, peaches, pears and apricots) contain cyanogenic glycosides which is also known as cyanide.

What It Can Do:

Some of the symptoms that come from ingesting the toxin are dizziness, struggling to breath, seizures, collapsing, hyperventilation, shock and even coma.

H/T HubPages

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Yeast Dough

Bread

Bread makes you fat? While having a chubby puppy isn’t the worst thing in the world, yeast dough used to make bread should absolutely be kept away from dogs.

What’s In It:

The raw yeast dough from making bread can ferment in a dog’s stomach, becoming toxic.

What It Can Do:

Aside from the toxicity from alcohol being produced in the stomach, yeast dough can also expand in your dog’s stomach or intestines and create a large amount of gas in the digestive system. This can lead to severe pain and a potentially ruptured stomach or intestinal tract. Vomiting, abdominal discomfort and lethargy can also occur.

H/T VetMedicine

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Caffeine

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No idea who would ever share coffee with a dog. I mean, what do they have to do all day other than sleep and look out the window?  In all seriousness, owners should never let their dogs near coffee or any form of caffeine.

What’s In It:

Coffee contains a stimulant known as Methylated xanthine.

What It Can Do:

Methylated xanthine stimulates the nervous system in dogs, causing vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations and even death.

H/T Can I Give My Dog

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Bacon

bacon

What? Bacon?! Say it isn’t so! It’s absolutely tragic that we can’t share one of the greatest foods out there with our canine buddies. We’ll need to remember this the next time we want to feed our dogs some breakfast bacon under the table. Well, more bacon for us then. Sorry, buddy.

What’s In It:

Foods rich in fat, like bacon, can lead to the disease pancreatitis in dogs. Once a dog has developed pancreatitis, their pancreas’ become inflamed and stop functioning correctly.

What It Can Do:

This leads to all sorts of problems with digestion and nutrient absorption.

H/T Can I Give My Dog

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It should also be noted that the amount of damage these foods can do vary on the specific breeds and sizes of your dogs. Like humans, all dogs are different and can react differently to foods. Though it’s better to keep them away from these foods just for good measure.

Categories
Packaged Food

Spam Nuts are Real and Totally Not a Porno Title

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Spam and Macadamia Nuts. Two things that have virtually nothing in common other than they’re popular in Hawaii and I have a can of each in the glove compartment of my car. But it looks like they’ll have one more thing in common as the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. has released Spam-flavored Macadamia nuts to join in union two of Hawaii’s tasty staples.

The nuts are dusted with a seasonal Hormel blend for that spam-flavored taste, meaning there sadly won’t be chucks of Spam in each bag. Still, I’d very much like to try a bag just to say I did. Especially if I end up liking it, I’ll pretty much have Christmas gifts covered for my entire family.

The Spam-flavored Macadamia Nuts are available for purchase at Hawnnut for $3.95 in a 4.5 oz can and $7.75 for a 10z pouch.

PicThx Hawnnut

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News

Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts

I was going through some pictures of my last trip to Hawaii and realized how much I miss eating macadamia nuts. Original, salted or chocolate covered, they are all good. Thought I would please your eyeballs like I did mine, with a little eye-candy, no pun intended.