Several years ago, I think 2006, I had a party for Malagasy Independence Day, which is June 26. I made vary miarka tsaramaso (beans & rice), ravitoto (ground cassava leaves), and ranovola (burnt rice water, trust me, it’s delicious). I found fresh lychees to serve for desert, cranked some salegy music and made people look at my pictures from the two years I spent in Madagascar in the Peace Corps. It was great fun!
I had planned to make it an annual fety (party), but the next year I had a family reunion that weekend, and the two years after that I was in Iowa City in grad school, and last year, I was just lame and not in the party mood, I guess. But this year, I hope the party will return as a powerful force. Saturday night I had a trial run.
One of my friends who attended the first annual and so far only vingt-six party, as it's called in French, is a big fan of ravitoto. It was my favorite loaky (anything served with rice) in Madagascar. Also known as ravibalahazoo, it has a unique smell and flavor, is usually cooked with onions and garlic, beef if you have it, and is delicious! It also turns your poop green, in case you were wondering. I apologize for that, but the color and consistency of our bowels was a hot topic among my fellow Peace Corps volunteers.
Anyway, said friend has been requesting that I make ravitoto for the past 5 years and I have disappointed. This friend is also a master at hosting dinner parties and a fabulous cook. Same with the other two friends I had over Saturday night for a Malagasy feast. I often show up at their houses for yummy meals either empty handed or with spicy peanut dip, which I have brought to practically every social gathering I’ve attended since I stole the recipe from the other Becky and co-opted it as my own.
So my little dinner gathering was a good way to return the favor to these culinary friends, fulfill Sara’s request for ravitoto, fulfill a COFFEE goal of inviting people over for dinner (and a theme dinner at that, as suggested by a COFFEE-mate) and see if I still remember how to make Malagasy food in preparation for my Malagasy Day fety. I think it was a success... not only because the food turned out pretty good (it tastes better than it looks)...
but because I convinced my guests to wear malagasy hats :)