The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Twenty-Nine — Food in Micronesia, by James Merle
If you ask Chuukese what their favorite foods are, they will say
Around the island there are dozens of small stands or markets that
sell freshly picked bananas, limes, cucumbers, eggplant, coconuts,
mangoes, breadfruit, local beans, and papayas (to name a few), and
freshly caught reef fish, tuna, and lobster. Since coconuts are 50
cents, I often grab a few in the morning before school to drink during
The fish markets are located along the ocean in the downtown area.
The fish are kept in large coolers filled with ice. The stalls have
sometimes three or four coolers with different types of beautiful and
colorful “iik enoch” or ‘fish of the reef’ in them. Reef fish are
smaller fish caught in the lagoon. The Chuukese word for Tuna is
“angarap,” and I have grown accustomed to eating sashimi, or raw fish.
Another interesting anecdote, the Chuukese love to barbique fish, and
their word for barbique is “parpikiu.”
In order for one to eat fish here, one must know how to fillet a
fish. This can sometimes be a dirty process, but the payoff makes it
worth the hastle.
In addition to the markets, there are several grocery stores that
sell just about the same things as stores in the United States, though
products from the United States are far more expensive: a box of
cereal is 7 dollars, and instant coffee is 9 dollars for a medium
sized jar. Stores are structured the same, and everyone uses the
There are five “restaurants” on the island that have similar food and
prices to restaurants in the United States, but you can buy a small
container of prepared food for $1.50 from some of the markets. These
usually consist of a small turkey leg or turkey tail, rice, and a
hotdog. One shop that I particularly like sells these meat and
vegetable pies called asado rolls.
In Chuukese culture, some people borrow eating customs from the
Japanese, since the Japanese once occupied the are prior to World War
II. Chuukese generally eat with their hands, and they have a specific
order that family members are allowed to serve themselves food.
Sometimes the oldest man of the house eats first, sometimes the
youngest. The women prepare the meals, and clean up after.
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The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.
Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year
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