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Among the Malagasy manners which interest the former travelers, the mode of nourishment attract the attention of many of them. Barthélémy Huet de Froberville indicates that the inhabitants of Madagascar live on rice, roots such as yams “cambarres” … that the island produces in abundance, fruits, milk, oxen, sheep, goats, game, fish, Poultry … “In a word, of all that the liberal hand of nature offers them in profusion, according to places and productions, and years are not equally favorable to the goods of nature. “
For Legentil, the inhabitants of Madagascar “are very carnivorous”. However, they can not eat a lot of meat especially at Fort Dauphin, because no one, except the king and the chiefs, has permission to kill chickens and oxen. He therefore finds it “very singular to see me in a country where the kings and lords of the villages were the only butchers of the State.”
Indeed, “it is they who put the knife in the throat of the beast. The people do not eat
Meat to Fort Dauphin only when they give them or some European kills. “
In the time of Etienne de Flacourt, this power is in the hands of the Roandriana. But later in the days of Legentil, this caste of great “is extinct” and the leaders, in true masters, retain this “bizarre right”. “I do not know how these chefs prepare or have their meat prepared. “
Nevertheless, the author knows how the population prepares it. She cuts the beef in small strips with the skin. She puts them on a small wooden brooch, which she pushes into the earth, inclined towards the fire, and turns it over from time to time. When the meat is cooked, it eats it with the skin.
More in the north, in Foulpointe and in Antongil Bay, populations are less dominated by their chiefs of food than those of the South. They kill chickens, make them a kind of fricassee, which they call “king,” and which are very good. The inhabitants
“Break the chicken in pieces, boil them with water, salt, fat and leaves of ravintsara, excellent spice, until the meat is well cooked and the broth thick and fatty.”
To accompany this dish, the inhabitants cook “dry” rice apart (vary maina). They
Then spread the leaves of “ravinala” on the floor, which serve as tablecloths and napkins. They are sheets “very beautiful, very smooth and very clean”. On the tablecloth so extended, they put on one side the chicken pieces without sauce, on the other the rice, and all sit around.
The women take small pieces of the same leaves, fold them in a very clever way to make a kind of spoon. It is with this that they take the rice, the other hand serving as a fork. Another woman with a spoon of leaf, takes broth and pours on the rice taken by each person.
“So you eat a kind of rice soup and chicken soup. “
During the meal no one drinks any other drinking water than what is still boiled in the pot where the rice has been cooked and at the bottom of which is left a crust more or less thick. “It’s the ranon’ampango. “
Also in the North according to an anonymous author, the husband, wife and children eat together. But before, they invite friends and neighbors to come and share the meal.
“It is always the mistress of the house who does the honors of the feast, serving everyone at the same time. “
In general, all eat on the ground on mats. The foreigner, whether European or Malagasy, is always well received, but the former enjoys the right of chief. “In all the villages where he arrives, he is assigned a house where the chief sends him an ox for the present. Often in this part of the island, “the custom goes so far as to admit the slaves to the matting of their masters.” This is not the case in the South, among the Zafiraminia where “even women are not accepted