By Diane Miller
How in the world did anyone ever figure out that you can eat sago and find a way to do that, I often wonder.
“What is sago anyway, and how do you eat it?” you might ask. Well, that question has no really short answer, but I will give you a brief summary anyway.
Step 1: Cut down a sago palm tree and peel back the bark.
Step 2: Beat the spongy pulp of the tree trunk into small pieces with a blunt instrument.
Step 3: Take the stacks of beaten pulp that look a lot to me like tiny bits of styrofoam and wash them in a trough you have prepared that will strain out the bits of pulp after washing the starch out of them.
Step 4: Dry out the moist sago starch that has collected in the water that drains off the trough.
Voila, you now have sago you can prepare and eat in several different ways, so you can toss the stryofoam-like scraps away.
Here are a few ways to prepare the sago to eat.
1. Mix it with water, stir and cook until it has a rather thick, pasty consistency, and you can spoon it into bowls and eat it that way.
2. Cook it on a flat surface so that it comes out like a rather tough, chewy pancake.
3. Put it in bamboo and cook it over a fire. You can mix in beans, greens, or small fish if you like. Peel off the charred bamboo and eat the rubbery stick of sago.
Although I have yet to see Papua New Guineans buy or eat it this way, you can also buy processed sago in a store in the form of small balls like tapioca pudding and it can be cooked just like tapioca pudding. I can’t tell the difference between tapioca and sago when it is fixed this way.
Sago is one of the main staple foods of many parts of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and many people do not feel they have really eaten a decent meal without it.
Pioneer Bible Translators is concerned with another kind of staple food sometimes not easily available in Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the present time—spiritual food from the Word of God in PNG languages. Currently it takes a lot of work to make this food available, too, but it is a different kind of work involving language learning, translation, and checking and publishing translations, as well as teaching people how to use the Scriptures. We are making progress in making the Word of Life more readily available in various Papua New Guinean Languages and we pray that God’s Word will become an important of the spiritual diet of not just many parts, but all of Papua New Guinea and throughout the world. Sago might be considered the life sustaining bread of many parts of Papua New Guinea, but consider these words from the Bible: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)
Diane develops elementary curriculum and assists in the publications department.