The manioc root (also commonly known as yuca and cassava) has been vital to Brazil's inhabitants for millenia. Native to the Amazon River basin, manioc has long been used by Brazilian native peoples and became the lifeblood of the Portuguese colonists who settled there as well. Though manioc is commonly looked upon as a peasant or “vernacular” food, Rio de Janeiro-born-and-based chef and activist Teresa Corção argues that the root is a crucial tenet of Brazilian cuisine and identity. Corção, who has been in the restaurant business for more than thirty-five years, came slowly to the realization that Brazilian native ingredients were not being given their due by Brazilian chefs. For the past ten years, Corção has taken up the cause of promoting overlooked Brazilian ingredients within Brazil and abroad—with manioc and its many derivatives as her top priority— through her work with chefs, small farmers, consumers, and markets.

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