Manioc (Cassava) Processing, Brazil, 1840s

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Image Reference

Daniel P. Kidder, Sketches of Residence and Travels in Brazil (Philadelphia and London, 1845, 2 vols.), vol. 1, facing p. 242. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)

Men and women slaves pressing, grating, and washing the manioc; a white overseer with a whip looks on. Kidder (p. 243) describes the scene as follows: "The process of preparation . . . was first to boil [the roots], then remove the rind, after which the pieces were held by the hand in contact with a circular grater turned by water power. The pulverized material was then placed in sacks, several of which, thus filled, were constantly subject to the action of a screw-press for the expulsion of the poisonous liquid. The masses, thus solidified by pressure, were beaten fine in mortars. The substance was then transferred to open ovens, or concave plates, heated beneath, where it was constantly and rapidly stirred until quite dry. The ... farinha [flour] is found upon every Brazilian table, and forms a great variety of healthy and palatable dishes."