Madd fruit grows on a shrubby tree native to West Africa. Slicing off the top of the fruit reveals a compacted mass that, in a Senegalese market, might be spooned out on the spot; the thin layer of pulp is sucked off the comparatively large seeds, which are discarded. The label on this jar of Zena brand preserves (270 g., $6) made a similar serving suggestion. Though sugar has been added during the production process, the tangy flavor is more sour than sweet.
The two photos at bottom show a common progression, over three years, in the appearance of a market that seems to be doing well for itself. In 2011, the awning was a simple orange-and-white; with green, these are the national colors of the Ivory Coast. By 2014, a more-elaborate awning had been installed; it better follows the contours of the building, and in full color it illustrates many of the market's staple products.
This advertisement for cut-rate shellfish brings to mind the oft-told tale, from days of yore, of too much lobster on the weekly menu. A typical version, cited by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, asserts that in colonial times the crustaceans were so plentiful that they were considered "poverty food," and that indentured servants, compelled to eat them again and again, "finally rebelled. They had their contracts state that they would not be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week."
To be sure, lobsters were easy pickings four centuries ago. James Rosier, the official chronicler of Capt. George Waymouth's 1605 expedition from England to Maine, documented one evening's catch:
"And towards night we drew with a small net of twenty fathoms very nigh the shore: we got about thirty very good and great Lobsters, many Rockfish, some Plaise, and other small fishes, and fishes called Lumpes, verie pleasant to the taste: and we generally observed, that all the fish, of what kind soever we took, were well fed, fat, and sweet in taste." (Original capitalization, spelling, and punctuation preserved. Evidently homely "lumpes" not identified.)
The rebellion part of the lobster story — more often, in fact, a salmon story — "is one of the most frequently told about New England seafood," Sandy Oliver writes in The Debunk-House. But lack of primary evidence, Oliver elaborates, would indicate that it's just not so. No minutes have ever emerged of a meeting between the indignant diners ("pick one," she invites, "the apprentices, servants, boarders, lumbermen, occupants, prisoners...") and the officials in charge of the menu, and no such ordinances have been uncovered. Even the Department of Marine Resources doesn't claim its own account for Maine — it was "in Massachusetts [that] some of the servants finally rebelled."
As for these latter-day lobster tails, I know nothing more about them except by association. One neighboring flyer holds out the offer of "all cash" for your house, building, or land; another promises "cheap divorce." This cut-rate lobster may well be perfectly palatable, but you wouldn't be blamed for testing the waters elsewhere instead.
These are three in a multiethnic series surely meant to drum up future business for the neighborhood — even if the tagline, "It's all under the bridge," suggests that bygones are already bygones. Others in the series include "visit" and "play."
"Socialize" sets the silhouette of a woman against the Mexican bandera; "eat" features a man and the flag of Ecuador. "Drink," awkwardly, depicts the Irish tricolor and a woman who, at least in outline, looks rather frumpy. It so happens, though, that the slogans, the silhouettes, and the national colors can be mixed and matched, as I saw from a number of other banners nearby. My sighting of an Irish lass, coupled with the implicit lure of a Guinness, was only a coincidence.
Kingsbridge Shopping District banners Various locations near Broadway and 231st St., Bronx
"Twice-fried" isn't only for french fries. To prepare the Puerto Rican cod fritters called bacalaítos, a seasoned flour batter incorporating shredded fish is first ladled into oil over a relatively low flame, till the fritters take their shape and cook through.
In the Yoruba language of Nigeria, "efo riro" can be understood as "vegetable stew." As Chris Crowley has noted on Serious Eats, West African recipes for this dish often call for the leafy greens of plants in the amaranth family; North American renditions commonly substitute spinach. As you can see from the color, however, eating efo riro is not simply a matter of getting your greens.