Haitian DIRT COOKIES – Galette | Hard Times – recipes & food from times of scarcity

Haitian DIRT COOKIES – Galette | Hard Times – recipes & food from times of scarcity


Greetings my beautiful lovelies! It’s Emmy. Welcome back to another episode of Hard Times where I explore food and recipes from times of scarcity. Today, I’m gonna be exploring a recipe that comes from Haiti. Now, I’ve heard about this recipe for a long time, and it is for dirt cookies, also known as bon bon terre or bon bon te or galette. And these cookies were presented as a way to fill bellies inexpensively. Each little cookie puck cost about five cents. Women were shown making them and then selling them and children were shown eating them. So Haiti is a very impoverished country and has increasingly become more dependent on international exports, and with rising food costs many people are unable to purchase or buy food so these dirt cookies were presented as a way to deal with hunger and hunger pains, and also a way to make a small amount of money. So in my research, I found a video by the World Food Program — I’ll put a link to it down below — here on YouTube that explains a little bit more background about these dirt cookies or galletes. In actuality, there’s a longer history of eating these cookies and it’s not just to deal with hunger. So these cookies were often eaten during pregnancy by pregnant women as a source of nutrition and for minerals. And, in fact, it is quite common for pregnant women to have certain urges or cravings that they ordinarily wouldn’t have if they weren’t pregnant. It’s believed that the fetus is telling the mother what nutrients and minerals it needs. So, of course, clay and dirt contain naturally occurring minerals and women that are pregnant often feel satiated when they have that little bit of clay or dirt and receiving that minerals. And they find that the taste is actually quite delicious. So the practice of eating earth, dirt, or clay is called geophagy, and it’s been found in recorded history for millennia. So I’ve heard about this Haitian dirt cookie recipe for a long time, but didn’t have any source of clay. But thanks to lovely Rachel who sent me a link to Grandma’s Georgia White Dirt, I was able to purchase this bag of dirt. This dirt is more specifically as kaolin clay. It is used in many different things besides just pottery Including medicines, like Kaopectate (actually, Kaopectate since 2003 does not contain kaolin, but it did at one point) as well as Maalox and Rolaids and other anti-diarrheal drugs and medications. And it’s believed the clay absorbs impurities and can also be used to treat food poisoning and kaolin clay is of course also used for facial masks and is often found in toothpaste. So it sounds a bit strange but it actually is more prevalent than you might expect. So the practice of eating soil dirt and clay can be found all over the world including Africa. So it’s believed that enslaved peoples brought the practice from Africa to the United States and even today you can go to flea markets or markets or go online and purchase clay for the specific purpose of eating it. So with that a little bit of history, let’s go ahead and prepare these cookies. And here it is and if I scratch it with my nail, it’s pretty soft, kind of like talc. It’s very, very fine like talcum powder (I think on the scale of hardness, talc is considered the softest) and doesn’t smell like anything. So, on Grandma’s website they say that you can sterilize this by either baking it at 350 degrees for about an hour or just putting it in the microwave for a few minutes. So it says to place it in a brown paper bag — which I shall do….. Okay, and that’s for sterilizing so here’s my clay I just took it out of the microwave and the instructions warned not to burn it So a word of warning now, I’m gonna use a hammer and kind of crush the pieces of clay bit Wow, it’s hard So how a microwave works is that it heats the water that is inside of whatever you are warming up So the small amount of water that was in this clay, which made that clay pretty soft and easy to scratch was heated up and thus Sterilizing our clay, but it also makes the clay much harder So for those that eat this just as it is it probably affects the kind of experience especially texturally in your mouth So it is much harder than it once was so I’m noticing that when I’m breaking this with a hammer Now the reason why I’m doing this is to make this a much easier when I add the water I want these clay pieces to dissolve Now we’re gonna add our water mmm, did you hear that sizzle clay was hot Amazing oh my gosh, look at that it instantly just turns into clay amazing Oh, it has a lovely smell It smells kind of like, I believe the word is petrichor. One of my favorite words. It smells like wet cement. It’s like right when it starts to rain that smell of wet cement that represents childhood and riding bikes That’s what the smells like, smells pretty good So because the clay is hot listen to that It’s turning into a beautiful white clay, so I’m using my hands here to kind of try to crush this up So what I find really interesting about this recipe is that and much of the mass media This is portrayed as something as a very very desperate desperate measure Understandably, but what I think is more interesting is that there’s actually a history of eating this not just during times of famine but as a Supplement for pregnant women. Absolutely fascinating. It makes absolute sense So now that I have this paste, I still have chunks of clay in there. So now we’re going to further refine it So what I’ve got here is a plastic bucket that I’ve cleaned out. This is food grade I just picked it up from my local bakery I’m gonna use an old cloth napkin and place it over the top and this is going to be my filter of sorts Take some string wrap it around the top, and to get it even tighter, I’m going to use a stick and kind of winch this around now I want this really really tight because this is going to be the filter in which I’m going to process my Play so take handfuls of this and just rub it through So the idea being that the chunks will stay on top and the nice and smooth clay will be pressed through the cloth There are other ingredients in these cookies as well This also contains salt and margarine which I’ll be adding in the next steps in the videos I saw the type of clay look to be a little bit different While it seemed nice and fine like this clay, it had more of a yellow cast to it so the mineral composition of it was probably different than this clay, but I wanted to make sure I got clay that was of edible purity. Alrighty, so here’s my refined clay I put in a bowl so you can see it better and now we’re going to season this. Now, I did find one blog post that said it was ten parts of clay up to about one part of salt and one part of margarine that doesn’t seem quite right to me because that seems like a lot of salt but This is clay after all. It’s probably pretty bland but one part seems quite a lot but anyways, I’m going to add about a half teaspoon of salt and and two teaspoons of melted margarine Stir that together I’ve got a baking dish here lined with parchment paper traditionally these would be laid out on some cloth like a sheet and Allowed to dry in the Sun but I’m gonna speed things up and do it in my oven alright, let’s go ahead and shape our cookies, put a dollop down and Then just spread it in a circle So a big heaping tablespoon I’m gonna put these in a 350 degree oven and bake them for about 20 minutes until they’re hard. But we don’t want them to be too firm. Okay, see ya’ll in a little bit! All righty! So I am back and here are my clay or dirt cookies. As you can see here if this one was a little bit too thin — it got a little over-baked. So what I found is at 350 degrees for the thickness of clay that I applied, this was a little bit too hot So I reduced the temperature to 300 degrees and cooked them for about 20 minutes and it seemed to work better. There was still a little bit of cracking but not nearly as bad as this So I made sure not to over bake these. In the BBC video where the reporter actually try these He said that they had the texture of chocolate, firm and snappy but not so hard as if you’re, you know, biting into a rock. That’s what it looks like on the bottom and let me break it for you That’s what it looks like there It doesn’t have a smell whatsoever. So let’s go ahead and give it a taste. Here we go. Itadakimasu! Wow! It’s kind of an amazing reaction: every drop of saliva in your mouth instantly gets sucked into the clay. It’s a little bit salty, both from the salt and the added margarine in there; the flavor is actually a lot like that petrichor smell that I was describing earlier. The experience in your mouth is very interesting because all of the moisture in your mouth just kind of get sucked up into the clay which turns into kind of a mud like texture in your mouth. It’s a little bit gritty, but a lot finer in texture than you might imagine. It’s not sandy, just a little bit gritty, and I think that has to do with kind of that refining process of pushing the clay through the fabric. So it’s pasty, and you have to take very tiny bites, because it absorbs all of that water. So there you have it: Haitian dirt cookies or bonbon te or galette. Certainly not tasty or delicious by our standard means, but this is something out of necessity and practicality. When there’s not a lot to eat, this will get you by. When you are craving some nutritional supplement, this will get you by. Big thanks to all of you who suggested this recipe. Thank you, Rachel, for giving me the link to Grandma’s White Dirt. Also, please consider donating to the hunger project — I will put a link down below. Please share this video with your friends and follow me on social media. Like this video, subscribe, and I shall see in the next one! Toodaloo! Take care! Bye!!! Hello?

100 Comments

  1. Here in Sweden children use to eat a blueish clay that You can find in the ground of pine forests. It has a kind of "fat" texture and tastes very mild.

  2. I would buy looks delicious to me 😋 I love clay dirt. Been eating clay dirt for years I even order offline. Red clay dirt is my favorite. Brown clay, grey clay and white clay are all good.

  3. You are so cultured and very kind about different people, and hard times as you said it yourself. You come with no judgment or criticism. It’s very refreshing to watch

  4. Good grief this world is so full of hate 🙄 she’s making some durn dirt cookies. She’s a precious, soft spoken lady who is kindly and respectfully demonstrating what cultures have eaten for different reasons. Can’t we ever just keep ANYTHING simple and sweet? Gosh people, get all that hate and vulgar talk outta here. If u don’t let go of conflict, u stay conflicted.

  5. I dont think the sizzling was because it was hot but rather the reaction between the water and clay!! And/or the water being absorbed into the clay since it is porous. Either way, great video!

  6. When I saw the thumbnail, I thought these would be some type of sweet cookie with a sandy texture. I never would've guessed they were made with clay.

  7. Well if their president would stop them from trespassing dominican republic to burn the flag they wouldnt need to rely heavily on imports

  8. ive never met a Haitian that liked these its Caribbean culture to suffer in silence so youll never hear someone say they hate something they have to eat everyday

  9. Lmao….this was funny to watch…”wow, the most FABULOUS thing just happened in my mouth!” -somebody at one point in their lives.

  10. Pregnant women eat these because they have the iron and other vitamins and minerals you need while pregnant. We have prenatal vitamins, which are basically the same thing in pill form.

  11. 😀Emmy,I watch at least two of your videos every week and i just want to say thanks for expanding my knowledge and adding a bit of sunshine and happiness during my hectic week. 😁

  12. I can imagine someone invented it by making clay pots, and one day just shoved their clay hand in their mouth and was like. “…………huh.”

  13. My father told me as a baby I would constantly eat the soil of the potted plants so they’d have to always watch me or make sure I wasn’t able to reach the plants or I’d be in there just going to town 😆😆😆. Perhaps my body was telling me I needed iron?

  14. The way you push the clay through the cloth is how really nice restaurants get the chunks out of mashed potatoes as well. Obviously add butter or buttermilk or both and add some salt and pepper and your done. You can also use a screen, I imagine you can find them online.

  15. I hope y’all know that not everyone in Haiti is poor. Some of y’all are just plain ignorant. It’s sad. Educate yourselves! Stop collectively thinking everyone in Haiti is poor and everyone from Haiti eats dirt cookies. I don’t understand why she didn’t just make a regular video of her making traditional Haitian food. It’s sad that the media only portrays Haiti in such a negative light. It was the first independent black nation for Christ sakes. It’s also sad how other black people speak badly of Haitians. If you’re black, you’re African. Have pride in your people.

  16. I love how respectful you are and how informative you made this. Instead of just doing a “diy rock cookie” or “eating rocks” and being all clickbaity you did a wonderful job at informing us.

  17. Is this clay similar to “white dirt”? I’m from Alabama and I knew people that would eat white dirt. It look similar to this.

  18. It really made me upset that you sterilized (or disinfected I guess) the clay and then put it BACK IN THE TRAY WHICH IT WAS IN BEFORE YOU STERILISED IT. You cross contaminated the clay you are going to eat. I can't.

  19. Food-grade (i.e. extra-finely-powdered) Diatomaceous Earth is consumed by many westerners as both a mineral supplement (DE contains about 20 trace minerals), and a gut-cleanser-detoxifier (parasite remover). Do NOT take Diatomaceous Earth unless it is marked as the FOOD-GRADE , fine-powder! DE is negatively charged, while many harmful compounds or matter in the digestive system, i.e. 'toxins' have a positive charge, and so the DE helps pull them out of the body and eliminate them thru the digestive tract; also the DE particles kill and scrape away parasites from the intestinal linings/walls. The powder is so fine that a dust mask should be worn while preparing/mixing it, because inhaling its particles can damage the lungs. It is generally consumed by mixing with water and then drinking, maybe starting out with less than a teaspoon each night before bed, and then after a few days eventually increasing the amount to around 2 teaspoons per mix/serving. People with 'sensitive guts' I guess are supposed to be cautious. I don't know if I have a 'sensitive gut' or not, but personally I never had a problem taking more at a time, even 3 teaspoons in about 12-oz. of water. I don't find it unpleasant-tasting at all, rather neutral really, but it does have a taste and appearance like a clay, like a light-colored, 'muddy' clay-water. I use a straw to drink it, because although it isn't 'bad-tasting,' I don't like the mouth-feel of it, and want to finish clean of it. That said, it's also a good idea to drink/chase it with plain water, i.e. rinse with plain water after drinking the 'clay-water.'

  20. 1st I'd like to thank you for this video not many people do things that relate to the haitian culture so thank you for this video it means alot. My husband is haitian an we have a son together so I love learning about Haiti in any way I can so I can teach my 3yr old as he grows so I would actually LOVE LOVE to see you do anything that touches on the haitian culture. I love watching your channel an I actually learn alot from watching you as well so thank you..

  21. Emmy, I don't think this is safe to eat.
    I think some foreign/exotic foods you eat on your channel are dangerous to one's health.
    Just because people are eating something doesn't mean it's safe.
    And am sure lot of Haitians that eat it, do find themselves sick later and with poor educate, they don't realize its linked back ti that.

  22. I ate a whole bunch of these cookies and then I pooped an entire 45 pounds sculpture of Beethoven directing a Symphonic orchestra inside the toilet bowl! I placed it in my porch entrance, it never went thru the toilet pipes …..

  23. This video was interesting but it also made me sad. To think that people are reduced to eating dirt to stave off hunger pangs, while here in the US, people throw out perfectly good food, is heartbreaking. Besides that, I really do enjoy this channel! I've learned a lot.

  24. When people are eating clay in the US, it is described as healthy and a way to detoxify the body and having numerous benefits and extreme nutritional value.

    When the black and brown countries are eating clay, it is described as eating dirt and soil because they are hungry and have literally nothing to eat. It is said to have no benefits or nutritional value.

    In Ancient times the black and brown countries were very prosperous and rich and still ate clay. They understood the detoxifying effects and benefits to their bodies and the nutritional value. Aiyilo is African term for bentonite clay. There are reports saying Aiyilo is dangerous and people are stigmatizing Africans for eating it. Then westerners are calling them dumb and saying they should only eat bentonite, when it is bentonite. The western world is new to this very smart practice of eating clay for detoxification, but will demonize all the other cultures that have been doing it for ages as poor people eating dirt and soil. This woman reverts to it as clay bit the title is dirt

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