I was eating some fat free Jell-o brand tapioca pudding today, and started to wonder "What exactly IS tapioca, and why does it make pudding taste so good?"
I love google. I typed in "Who invented tapioca pudding?" and came up with this, from The Library of Congress:
In 1894, a sailor became ill in Boston. His landlady offered to make him a pudding from the cassava roots he had brought from his journeys. The pudding proved tasty, but to create a smoother consistency, the sailor suggested first putting the roots through a coffee grinder. The creamy tapioca pudding was a hit with her boarders. That year, J. S. Whitman bought the landlady’s recipe rights and the Minute Tapioca Co. was born.
"Hmmmm," I think. "Tapioca pudding as I know it doesn't taste creamy. I mean the pudding tastes creamy, but what about the pearls inside. What's THAT all about?"
So I dig a little more, and find this, on Yahoo Ask.com something or other:
Tapioca pudding is a common pudding with tapioca pearls added to a vanilla pudding. It can be discerned from other types of pudding by the small, translucent and almost caviar-like orbs of tapioca within. Tapioca is a starch derived from the root of the cassava plant, also known as manioc. The root requires processing to withdraw tapioca in the form of flakes, seeds or pearls. Cassava is native to South and Central America. It is now produced in Africa and Asia.
So we've all learned something today. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your pudding!