Tapioca Pudding – What the Heck Are Those Little Balls?

My wife made the mistake of asking me the other night if I knew what exactly is Tapioca. I had no clue. I know I like it. I consider it about a 7 out of 10 on the “yummy” scale.

Yes curiosity killed the cat but it also compelled me to find the true story behind Tapioca pudding. What I discovered you may find interesting but it is not the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of. Or at least not good Hollywood movies.

Tapioca is a flavorless high starch ingredient produced from cassava root which is native to South America. The little white balls are a result of processing the root. They are not seeds. The cassava plant is used in a variety of different cuisine across the world.

Now that we have figured out what tapioca is we can fully understand tapioca pudding. It is simple. Tapioca pudding is quite frequently and commonly a mixture of tapioca, of course, as well as milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla.

There are a couple other interesting little tidbits.

The cassava plant produces cyanide. If you do not process the plant then it could kill you. If only I had a nickel for every time I have heard “dude this is some killer tapioca.”

Also some researchers are convinced that the cassava plant can be used to kill cancer cells.

July 15th is National Tapioca pudding day. Whatever you do, do not tell my wife. I did not get her anything. Not even a card. National Tapioca Pudding Day was the central story line in a television episode of “Garfield & Friends”.

And finally a little story that might make you chuckle. In 1972 outside of Wales, a Swiss freighter called the Cassarate was almost sunk by tapioca. Apparently the ship was holding 1500 tons of tapioca when it caught fire. The heat from the fire combined with the water used to extinguish it essentially started to cook the tapioca. This process caused the tapioca to expand. The ships plating was almost to the point of buckling. Eventually the fire was extinguished and the ship managed to limp on to its destination.

Hundred of hungry Welshman were disappointed as they had been waiting in anticipation of the explosion with bowls and spoons in hand.

Yea, I may have sensationalized the story a little bit with that last sentence. My apologies.

That was good stuff, was it not? I bet you can not wait until my story on haggis.

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