PLANTAINS: While plantains appear very similar to bananas, they are not the same food at all: plantains are starchy and much harder, and cannot be eaten raw. There are several ways to prepare them.
In class, we made tostones or patacones (plantain chips) to taste, which are a very popular snack in some Spanish-speaking countries. Chifles are much more thinly sliced, fried green plantain chips. At the store, you can buy Chifles plantain chips; while these are tasty, the chips are very thin and not the same as homemade tostones or patacones. Someone from Cuba told me that the plantain chips they make at home are sweet, almost like a dessert; so I think that there are probably quite a few varieties. If you would like to make this delicious snack at home, HERE is a recipe.
“The origin of mangú started back in 1916 when the Americans invaded the Dominican Republic; afterwards, the soldiers would go into town. Then one day, one of the soldiers wanted to taste some of the mashed plantains he saw the locals eat.
When he tasted it, he said ‘Man, this is good’ and pointing at it, he said in short ‘man good!’. The locals thought that the name of the mashed plantains in English was mangú.”Source
Looking for more recipes? Check out this PAGE.
LINKS: Mangú (recipe)
ANECDOTE: This morning in Spanish class, third graders started a cooking project that first graders ended up finishing (because Señorita overloaded the electrical circuits… whoops! and had to restart, ahem). As serendipity would have it, the end product was even better than planned: a beautiful mix of first and third graders working and cooking side-by-side.