Gofio

Gofio made with chicken stock, and chicken stew
Gofio made with chicken stock, and chicken stew

Gofio is sort-of cooked flour (you toast the grains before you grind them) and it’s been a staple of the Canarian diet since pre-hispanic times.

In principle, you can use just about any grain, although the commonest ones are wheat and maize. In times of famine, there’s even a fern root you can use, although I believe it’s very bitter, and not something you would chose to eat if there was anything else available. My family likes the whole-grain, multi-cereal one best.

Gofio tastes better than it sounds — OK, so that’s not difficult — and it’s very versatile. You can mix it to a stiff dough with stock and serve it in place of mashed potatoes (like the top photo) or with warm milk instead of breakfast cereal (like the bottom photo). In fact most Canarian babies have gofio and milk just before bed, rather than baby-rice and milk. You can mix it with mashed bananas, a little sugar, and orange juice or milk for dessert, or put it round your pork scratchings to make chicharones,which are very nice to nibble with a beer. And if you’re hiking past a spring, it also makes a light-weight lunch. Just add something like a tin of sardines and some finely chopped onion.

But don’t confuse it with flour and try to bake a cake with it. Trust me, you’ll get something closer to a cannonball than Victoria sponge.

Gofio and warm milk, for breakfast
Gofio and warm milk, for breakfast

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