Cassava-leaf soup; potato-leaf soup, roasted cassava and raw cassava. People were asking if we had tried these dishes and I kept wondering if it was some kind of joke. What are these guys talking about??!
Back home in Nigeria, cassava leave is goat feed, roasted cassava is unheard of and you only eat raw cassava when you are suicidal. I don’t have the statistics but I know that the cyanide in raw cassava will kill you faster than a loaded gun (I don’t know where that came from). Here in Sierra Leone (Salone) these dishes are national delicacies.
In naija, we eat roasted yam/ corn and we have to take the raw cassava through various processes (which I know nothing about) before it’s edible enough to make garri, fufu or African salad popularly called abacha. I didn’t even know that potato had leaves.
Our caretaker, S, convinced us that this specie of cassava was different from the one we eat where I come from but did we want to take any chances?
Never let it be said that we African celebrators were too afraid to taste a national dish. So with trepidation we asked S to make the cassava leaves soup for us and I had my Andrews liver salt nearby, and my phone ready to dial 911 just in case.
We were pleasantly surprised. It was tasty!! I really, really liked it! I think it was the best tasting ‘African’ soup I’d had in a while (apart from the egusi I ate the other day and the okro of 2weeks ago). Best of all we are still alive and very well, so I guess that means S was right and this specie is different.
Anyway, I’m recommending that whenever you decide to visit Free town, drink in the beautiful hills and mountains, swim in the Atlantic ocean and eat some cassava-leaf soup.