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National Tapioca Pudding Day is dedicated to the starch that is extracted from the manioc plant, otherwise known as ‘cassava’. This tuber plant is most commonly known as the source of the translucent beads that are used when making tapioca pudding. 

History of National Tapioca Pudding Day

While this pudding might be one of the most commonly known uses of this substance, it has cultural significance around the world. Its origins can be found in Brazil, where the cassava plant is called the mandioca, and the subsequent extracted starch is called tapioca. The name, tapioca, even comes from this area as it is derived from the word “tipi’óka”, used in the South American language, Tupí.

Tapioca is a substance that is often used as a thickener for different culinary dishes, being found in gravies, soups, dumplings and stews. It can also even be used in the brewing of alcohol, with varieties of it being available from all over the world. In Brazil it is possible to find tiquira, kasiri heralds from Africa, and masato is a flavorful tapioca based liquor from Peru.

Tapioca pudding is a bit of an odd looking treat that is relatively common in the Western world. With its signature white color and the translucent and mysterious pearls that give it its well known gelatinous texture, it is a form of pudding instantly recognizable to anyone who has encountered it before.

One of the most common ‘mysteries’ of this treat is what, exactly, those pearls are within it. Those pearls are a carefully molded form of starch extracted from the cassava plant, actually being comprised of flour from this self-same plant.

The origins of many quick or “minute” tapioca pudding recipes can be traced back at least as far as 1875, with its first mention being made in Cassell’s Dictionary of Cooking. It was in this text that the first definition of tapioca appears, as well as its suggestion for inclusion in puddings. This recipe is typically credited to a woman by the name of Susan Stavers, a housewife from Boston, Massachusetts.

As it turns out, tapioca also has some nutritional benefits that make it a helpful part of many people’s diets. The fact that it is gluten free is an attraction to many folks who have food allergies. It is also high in carbs, though, so some people might need to be careful of that. However, tapioca is low in fat and contains calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.

National Tapioca Pudding Day offers a delightful reason to enjoy and show appreciation for this often unnoticed food. So get ready to have a fun day!

How to Celebrate National Tapioca Pudding Day

Find all sorts of fun and interesting activities to enjoy when engaging with National Tapioca Pudding Day. Celebrate with some of these ideas to get started:

Eat Tapioca Pudding

Obviously, the most important activity of National Tapioca Pudding Day is to be sure to enjoy a delicious bowl of tapioca pudding, and it’s even better when it is shared! Head on over to a restaurant that serves freshly made tapioca pudding on their dessert menu, or open up a can of it at home. It can also actually be pretty easy to make when using quick, or “minute” tapioca options found at the grocery store. Grab a spoon and enjoy the day!

Learn More About Tapioca

A super way to get on board with celebrating National Tapioca Pudding Day might be to add some interesting bits of information to learn and share in honor of the day. Start out with some of these: 

  • For children who grew up in parts of Great Britain, tapioca pudding is not uncommonly known as frog spawn, which acts as a bit of a tribute to the clumps of amphibian eggs that it so clearly resembles. Fear not! There are no actual frog eggs in tapioca pudding, and the mystery of its contents is, in fact, answered right in the name.

  • One little known fact about the tapioca starch, is that when it is extracted from the green branched variety of the plant, it is the source of a potent cyanide based poison, and must be processed to remove this before it becomes edible! 

  • In 1972, a ship outside of Wales was carrying at least 1500 tons of tapioca when it caught fire. The combination of the heat and water started to cook the substance, causing it to expand and the sides of the ship almost buckled. Fortunately, the fire was put out and the crew made it to shore! 

Try Drinking Bubble Tea

For those who might not be huge fans of the texture of tapioca pudding, that doesn’t mean that they need to be excluded from the celebrations on National Tapioca Pudding Day! Perhaps this substance just needs to be tried in a slightly different form.

A dish made with tapioca pearls that has been growing in popularity in the Western world comes from Taiwan. In the early 2000’s, bubble tea parlors started popping up all over the world, providing this unique and delicious drink to a whole new clientele. The flavors are delightful, and there’s a satisfying texture to be found when a person bites down on the often chewy ‘bubbles’ of tapioca. Yum!

Try Out Some New Tapioca Recipes

National Tapioca Pudding Day is a wonderful time to try out different recipes and cuisines from around the world that utilize this incredibly versatile substance. In places like Colombia and Venezuela, the traditional flatbread known as Arepa is often made with tapioca flour rather than cornmeal, and judging from the Caribbean name for them, casabe, this method probably predates the use of cornmeal.

This special and important day gives folks the opportunity to broaden their culinary horizons, and try a new spin on domestic dishes using this substance. With a little research it is easy to find tapioca inspired flavors from all over the world. In the Congo you’ll even find it being used for fish dishes, eaten with rice and plantain paste to bulk out the dish.

Let National Tapioca Pudding Day serve as a reminder that there are great undiscovered ingredients for dishes that can add some variety to any menu. Cooking Tapioca is just the start! You can find it showing up as crisps, served in a manner similar to french fries or fried potato wedges, and even grated like coconut over a dessert. Get out there and try out new Tapioca based treats on National Tapioca Day, and find yourself on a culinary adventure!

Of course, trying to make tapioca pudding at home would certainly be a worthy pursuit in honor of the day as well!

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