SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany

Micronesian Food Presentations Fall 2006

Orthographic note: The spellings are those provided by the students. The student presentations are done under the constructivist theory of education where knowledge is jointly built. The spellings and the spelling variants provide discussion points. There is no intent that these spellings are in any way to be construed as official spellings. At the same time, there is no effort in class to force a student to change their spelling system. Through this open and accepting approach, this author has learned that spelling systems can be idiosyncratic and local to a motu, clan, family, or individual. Bearing in mind the ethnographic underpinnings of the course, the spelling systems presented are taken at face value. To go up to the board and repeatedly "correct" the spellings provided would discourage students from attempting to share what they know for fear of being embarrassed. As seen in the images of the board below, the spellings herein conform to that provided by the students.

Northern Pohnpei: Uht sukusuk

Kevin, Billy, Alexander, Wihper, Anthony

uht sukusuk

Pounded ripe boiled banana with coconut milk squeezed onto the top. Note the difference from the related dish uht piahia seen below.

uht piahia

Boiled uhtin ruk (Chuukese banana, alternative spelling utin ruk) covered with coconut milk. This type of banana may be perceived to have originated in Chuuk.

Sukusuk refers to pounded food, as in kehp sukusuk

Pohnpei kehp sukusuk

101223kevin (37K)

To see food and to vocally express a desire to eat that food when in a gathering, is socially ill-mannered. When one student expressed an interest in eating the uht sukusuk, the class laughed. The inability to control ones appetite in public is referred to by idioms in each of the cultures of Micronesia.

* This phrase was later determined to be used for a different meaning. Misen mongo refers to an ongoing condition in which the person does not feel right after eating meals. The usage is related to misen tulik which refers to when a child, typically an infant, is deemed to not be growing strongly and is in need of special "Baby medicine." The correct term when speaking to children is nget mget in mongo (literally "see food"). It is impolite to say this to adults. In the rare case in which one would be speaking of social equals or elders the phrase in suck tal would be used. This phrase is noted as being used only by the elders and is probably not known to the present generation.

Southwestern Pohnpei (Kitti): Raisok

Nixon, Qulihter, Hundra, Golbert


Look for moanioak (tapioca) you planted a year ago, peel off the outer skin, grind, add water. Squeeze the grindings. Pour out the liquid into a basin. Let the starch sink. Pour off the water. Recombine the starch with the grindings. Put into a banana leaf. Uhm for 45 minutes.

101226nixon (37K)

Southern Noumeneas: mweanin uuch

Daisy, Hellen, Marciano

mweanin uuch

Put banana in hot water (blanch) prior to grinding. Heat banana leaves so that the leaves will not tear so easily. Cook the ground banana in banana leaves by boiling. Let water boil out, then add water. Return to a boil. Remove cooked ground banana. Squeeze on boiled, not raw, coconut milk, or brush the milk on with a banana stem brush. Can add sugar to the hot coconut milk or sugar cane juice.

101230daisy (38K) 101232daisy (17K)

Words for banana [pseudo-pronunciation]

Mwoakilloa: Mwoakillese foods

Reema, Cassandra, Katherine



Boil bananas. Pound while hot. Add sugar. Form into balls, roll in coconut gratings. Komluj is thought of as a candy.



Rodmadok is a pounded variant of rodma. Rodma is the mwoakillese name for rotuma (Pohnpeian: rotamah; Kosraen: rotoma). Taro is cooked in the uhm and then pounded with coconut milk until sticky. Rodmadok is smooth and lacks the graininess of rotuma.

Mwehng umw

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Hard taro cooked in an uhm is possibly the most important and most fundamental starch for Mwoakillese and Kosraens.

The group presenting their foods:

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101238katherine (24K)

101239reema_writes (18K)

Shots of the terminology on the white board:

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101242board (28K)

Maryruth, Weston, and Franz present sup usr

sup usr sup usr

EthnoherbEthnobotanyLee LingCOMFSM