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饥荒和面包果的传说 让舰队哗变的海岛果实
The island fruit that caused a mutiny

[2018年6月3日] 来源:BBC双语阅读 作者:Laura Kiniry   字号 [] [] []  

The French Polynesians have a legend about a famine that occurred on the island of Ra'iātea. A family of six were so desperate for food that they went to live in a cave and ate wild ferns that grew in the surrounding valley. The family patriarch couldn't bear to watch his loved ones suffer, so he told his wife that he was going to bury himself beyond the cave. There, he would blossom into a tree that could feed them. When his wife awoke one morning to find him missing, she knew exactly what had happened. For nearby stood a fast-growing uru tree, its branches bearing loads of breadfruit. Today, this place is called Mahina, but many locals still refer to it as Tua-uru, which means ‘valley of the breadfruit’.


On my visit to French Polynesia, I didn't need a story to deduce that breadfruit, or uru, as local Polynesians call it, is a prominent part of both the islanders' diet and their culture. Everywhere I went, I saw the towering trees with their waxy leaves and heavy-hanging fruits, each the size of softballs or larger. They decorated roadsides and the yards of low-slung homes (“A common thing,” a native Polynesian named Tea told me, “because it means you can feed your family for many years”). At market stalls, the circular and oblong-shaped breadfruit (there are dozens of varieties in French Polynesia alone) lay alongside coconuts, plantains, soursops and passionfruit, their green exterior covered in tiny hexagonal shapes. Some were cut in half, exposing a fibrous white flesh. They resembled jackfruit, though smaller, and it turns out that they're part of the same family, along with figs.


On the more than 100 islands that make up French Polynesia, breadfruit is a staple food. The name derives from the fact that when it’s just ripe enough to eat, the cooked, starch-heavy fruit resembles freshly baked bread. It gets sweeter as it ripens, and can be prepared in a multitude of ways, including mashed, boiled, roasted and fried, or even devoured raw. Some locals call breadfruit the ‘Tree of Life’, because it can provide so much for so many: both the fruit and the tree's young leaves are edible; the trunk's lightweight timber can be used to build homes and traditional outrigger canoes; and the bark is even used to make clothes.


Experts say it’s a superfood of the future that has the potential to solve world hunger


Uru, it turns out, is no secret. Native to greater New Guinea, Polynesians have been carrying and cultivating breadfruit on their explorations through the South Pacific for thousands of years. Once British explorers caught wind of the high-yielding plant and its nutritious fruit, it was only a matter of time before uru would end up around the world. Today, breadfruit trees abound in the tropical lowlands of 90 or so countries, including Malaysia, where it's called buah sukun, Venezuela (pan de año) and India (kadachakka).


In 1768, when Captain James Cook set out aboard the British Royal Navy vessel HMS Endeavour, English botanist Sir Joseph Banks in tow, their three-year exploratory voyage included a three-month stop in Tahiti. Here, both men were quickly taken by breadfruit's potential for feeding slaves in the British West Indies, seeing that the trees were fast-growing, required little care and produced ample amounts of carb-heavy fruits. On returning to England, Banks (who later became president of the Royal Society, the world's oldest national scientific institution) alerted King George III of their finds; the botanist even offered a reward to anyone successful in transporting 1,000 breadfruit plants from Tahiti to the West Indies.

I soon found myself on a little breadfruit expedition of my own. At Tropical Garden, a family-owned farm filled with tropical flowers and fruit trees on the island of Mo'orea, I feasted on a square of sweet, steamed breadfruit soaked in tapioca known as po'e (Tahitian fruit pudding). From the moment I tasted its rich, custardy flavour I was sold. Everywhere I went I scoured menus for breadfruit treats like fritters, salads and ice cream. I read about it cooked over fire, saturated in fermented coconut milk and eaten warm with punu pua'atoro, or canned corned beef, and ground into flour to make gluten-free bread. Some plant experts even say it’s a superfood of the future that has the potential to solve world hunger. I asked myself, how did such a substantial fruit – and one, I would soon find, with an intriguing pedigree – stay under my radar for so long?


Nearly two decades after Cook's original expedition, King George III appointed Lieutenant William Bligh to lead the breadfruit expedition to Tahiti. On 28 November 1787, Bligh set sail with his crew aboard the HMS Bounty. Their journey was rough from the start. High winds and stormy weather significantly slowed their voyage, and once they reached Tahiti, Bligh and his crew had to wait another five months for the plants to be ready to transport.


By the time they set sail for Caribbean waters, Bligh's men had grown used to island living – and to the Tahitian women. Many of them didn't want to leave. So, on 29 April 1789, just a month into their voyage across the South Pacific towards the West Indies, Master's mate Fletcher Christian and 18 other disaffected crew members forced Bligh, with 18 of his supporters, into a 7m longboat and dispatched them into the open waters, tossing all the breadfruit plants overboard and sailing off on their own.


The ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ is now the stuff of legends, and most historians believe that it happened because those siding with Christian thought he could help them return to Tahiti – something that although eventually did happen, didn't quite go as planned. Bligh and his crew surprisingly survived, making their way by instinct and memory a total of 3,618 nautical miles (6,701km) over 48 days to Timor, an island in maritime Southeast Asia. Bligh soon returned to England, where he was honourably acquitted of any misconduct, and, two years later, set out once again for Tahiti, this time successfully completing his mission. In fact, some of those original trees Bligh delivered are rumoured to be still producing fruit in Jamaica.


This is a fruit worthy of some legendary history


On the final day of my trip I found myself at Papeete Market, a massive, buzzing marketplace just a few blocks from the bay in Tahiti. While other travellers perused the countless stalls selling colourfully printed pareos, a type of sarong, bottles of monoï (a mix of coconut oil and flowers) and vanilla oils, and fragrant gardenia hair adornments, I headed upstairs to Cafe Maeva to try the one breadfruit dish that had eluded me so far: frites de uru, or deep-fried, thick-cut breadfruit chips. Each bite into one of those crisp skins to taste the warm, pulpy interior told me straight-up: this is a fruit worthy of some legendary history.

法属波利尼西亚一直流传着一个发生在瑞亚堤亚岛(Ra'iātea)关于饥荒的传说。为食物发愁的一家六口,为了维生住进一个山洞,靠吃附近山谷里的野生蕨菜活命。一家之主不忍心看着亲人们受苦,便告诉妻子自己会自埋于山洞外,在那长成一棵大树,以喂养家人。一天早上妻子醒来发现丈夫不见了,心下便知发生了什么事。因为不远处伫立着一棵乌鲁树(uru tree),枝丫上长满了沉甸甸的面包果。如今,这个山谷叫做马黑那(Mahina),不过许多当地人仍然称之为图阿乌鲁(Tua-uru),意为"面包果之谷"。


我去法属波利尼西亚时,并不需要通过这个故事来了解面包果或者当地人口中的乌鲁果,因为它已是岛民饮食和文化不可或缺的一部分。无论我走到哪,都能看到高耸的面包树上那油亮亮的叶子和沉甸甸的果子。果子们跟垒球一般大,有时候还要更大些。面包果树装点在道路两边,还有平房的院子里。"很常见,"一个名字是"提"(Tea)的当地人告诉我,"因为这代表着你好多年都能喂饱你的家人。"在集市摊位上,或圆或椭圆的面包果与椰子、大蕉、小番茄还有西番莲摆在一块儿,有些已经对半切开,露出白色的纤维状果肉。单是在法属波利尼西亚,面包果就有数十种,其绿色表皮上布满呈六角形的突出小瘤,有点像小一号的菠萝蜜。而且与波罗蜜的确来自同一个植物家族,包括无花果也是。


面包果,又称乌鲁果,是法属波利尼西亚岛民饮食和文化不可或缺的一部分。

在组成法属波利尼西亚的上百个岛屿中,面包果都是一种主食。这种果实之所以称为面包果,是因为果子成熟,经烹煮后,成分主要是淀粉的果子吃起来味觉就像新鲜出炉的面包。熟透后的果子更甜,吃法也各种各样,捣碎吃、煮着吃、烤着吃、炸着吃,连生吃都行。一些本地人把面包树称为"生命之树",因为其全身都是宝——果子和嫩叶都能吃;树干的木质很轻,可以用来造房子和传统独木舟;树皮可用来做衣服。

原来,乌鲁并不是深藏此地的秘密。这种植物原产于新几内亚,波利尼西亚人几千年前就渡过南太平洋去探险,并带回来培育。待英国探险家们得知这种高产的植物及其营养丰富的果实后,乌鲁为世界所知就是时间早迟之事了。如今,约90个热带低地国家都种有大量的面包树,在马来西亚,它被称为布阿苏坤(buahsukun),在委内瑞拉叫做潘得阿纽(pan de año),印度则叫做卡达茶卡(kadachakka)。


1768年,英国探险家库克船长率领英国皇家海军舰艇"奋进号"始航时,英国植物学家班克斯爵士(Sir Joseph Banks)同行。在他们为期三年的探险之旅中,有三个月停留在大溪地。在这里,两人惊讶地目睹面包果树生长快速,无需精心照料,但能结出很多含有大量碳水化合物的果实,於是产生这样的念头,或许可以栽种面包果来喂饱英属西印度群岛的奴隶。


回到英国后,班克斯(后来他成了世界上最古老的国家科学机构——英国皇家学会的会长)向国王乔治三世汇报其发现。这位植物学家还发出悬赏,只要有人能从大溪地顺利运送1000棵面包树到西印度群岛,就能拿到奖励金。


18世纪后期,库克船长和植物学家班克斯爵士在大溪地度过了三个月,在那发现了面包树。

很快我自己也参加了一个小型的面包果考察之旅。在莫欧利岛(Mo'orea)一个家庭经营的热带农场里有各种热带花卉和果树,我享用了一块浸在木薯粉浆里蒸熟的甜面包果,这道食品叫作坡伊(po'e),是大溪地的果实布丁。当品尝到那口感丰富、奶味浓郁的食物,我深深折服了。于是不论到哪,我都在菜单上找寻有面包果的菜,像煎饼、沙拉和冰激凌。

我读了些相关食谱,比如把面包果烤一烤,浸在发酵的椰子汁里,趁热配上一种叫普奴普阿多罗(punupua'atoro)的当地吃食(一种咸牛肉罐头),还有磨成粉做成无麸质面包。一些植物专家甚至说面包果是未来的超级食物,也许能解决世界饥荒问题。我不禁自问,为何我以前从来不知有这样重量级的果实,何况它还有一段不寻常的历史传说?


距离库克船长首次探险将近二十年后,国王乔治三世任命布莱(William Bligh)上尉带领一个探寻面包果树的远征队前往大溪地。1787年11月28日,布莱率领手下乘坐皇家海军舰艇"邦蒂号"出海,旅程从一开始就很艰苦。狂风暴雨严重拖累他们的行程,而且一到大溪地,布莱和手下发现还要再等五个月,才能启航把面包树苗运往西印度群岛。


等他们起航去加勒比海域时,布莱的手下已经沉溺于岛上的生活和大溪地的女人,很多人都不想离开大溪地。所以在他们穿越南太平洋去往西印度群岛时,还没到一个月,在1789年4月29日, 大副克里斯蒂安和18名不满的船员逼迫布莱和18名追随者坐进一条7米的附属小艇,将他们放逐到大海上,又扔掉了所有的面包树苗,然后驾驶邦蒂号不顾而去。


布莱上尉将大溪地的面包树苗运往加勒比海途中遭遇了着名的"邦蒂号叛变"事件。

如今"邦蒂号叛变"已成传说,大多数历史学家认为船员叛变因为他们相信克里斯蒂安能带领大家返回大溪地,虽然最终的确成功返回,但途中也是颇多波折。布莱和自己的手下则不可思议地活了下来,凭着直觉和记忆航行了6701千米,在48天后到达东南亚的帝汶岛。很快,布莱回到英国,洗脱自己的责任,恢复了名誉。两年后,他又一次启程去大溪地,并成功完成了使命。事实上,据说布莱运送的这一批面包树苗今天还在牙买加扎根结果。


旅程的最后一天,我无意走入帕皮提市场,这个市场又大又热闹,离大溪地海湾只有几个街区远。数不胜数的摊位上兜售着五颜六色的印花沙笼(一种当地人穿的围裙)、瓶装的鲜花椰子油和香草油,以及香味浓郁的栀子花发饰。其他游客在此挑挑拣拣,我却上楼进了玛伊瓦咖啡馆(Cafe Maeva),吃了我一直没尝到的面包果美食——炸乌鲁果,也就是油炸厚切面包果片。每一口咬下去,那脆脆的焦壳、温热又绵软的里馅,说老实话,这真是一种配得上历史传奇的果实。

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