Ancient Puerto Ricans barbecued clams

This 6 September 2015 video says about itself:

Puerto Rican recipe: Stew Clams w/ Pasta


12 little clams
12 large clams
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Adobo
1 sazon packed
2 tablespoons sofrito
1 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves.

Topped with fresh cilantro and lemon wedges.

And, a long time before 2015 … from Cardiff University in Wales:

Barbequed clams on the menu for ancient Puerto Ricans

Analysis of fossilized shells reveals cooking habits of Caribbean civilizations over 2500 years ago

November 27, 2019

Scientists have reconstructed the cooking techniques of the early inhabitants of Puerto Rico by analysing the remains of clams.

Led by Philip Staudigel, who conducted the analysis as a graduate student at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Cardiff University, the team has used new chemical analysis techniques to identify the exact cooking temperatures at which clams were cooked over 2500 years ago.

With cooking temperatures getting up to around 200oC according to the new analysis, the team believe the early Puerto Ricans were partial to a barbeque rather than boiling their food as a soup.

The study, which also involved academics from the University of Miami and Valencia College, has been published today in the journal Science Advances.

Whilst the results throw new light on the cultural practices of the first communities to arrive on the island of Puerto Rico, they also provide at least circumstantial evidence that ceramic pottery technology was not widespread during this period of history — it’s likely that this would be the only way in which the clams could have been boiled.

Lead author of the study Dr Philip Staudigel, currently at Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said: “Much of peoples’ identity draws upon on where they came from, one of the most profound expressions of this is in cooking. We learn to cook from our parents, who learned from their parents.

“In many parts of the world, written records extend back thousands of years, which often includes recipes. This is not the case in the Caribbean, as there were no written texts, except for petroglyphs. By learning more about how ancient Puerto Rican natives cooked their meals, we can relate to these long-gone peoples through their food.”

In their study, the team analysed over 20kg of fossilised clamshells at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Stable Isotope Lab, which were collected from an archaeological site in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

The pre-Arawak population of Puerto Rico were the first inhabitants of the island, arriving sometime before 3000 BC, and came from Central and/or South America. They existed primarily from fishing, hunting, and gathering near the mangrove swamps and coastal areas where they had settled.

The fossilised shells, dating back to around 700 BC, were cleaned and turned into a powder, which was then analysed to determine its mineralogy, as well as the abundance of specific chemical bonds in the sample.

When certain minerals are heated, the bonds between atoms in the mineral can rearrange themselves, which can then be measured in the lab. The amount of rearrangement is proportional to the temperature the mineral is heated.

This technique, known as clumped isotope geochemistry, is often used to determine the temperature an organism formed at but in this instance was used to reconstruct the temperature at which the clams were cooked.

The abundance of bonds in the powdered fossils was then compared to clams which were cooked at known temperatures, as well as uncooked modern clams collected from a nearby beach.

Results showed that that the majority of clams were heated to temperatures greater than 100°C — the boiling point of water — but no greater than 200°C. The results also revealed a disparity between the cooking temperature of different clams, which the researchers believe could be associated with a grilling technique in which the clams are heated from below, meaning the ones at the bottom were heated more than the ones at the top.

“The clams from the archaeological site appeared to be most similar to clams which had been barbequed,” continued Dr Staudigel.

“Ancient Puerto Ricans didn’t use cookbooks, at least none that lasted to the present day. The only way we have of knowing how our ancestors cooked is to study what they left behind. Here, we demonstrated that a relatively new technique can be used to learn what temperature they cooked at, which is one important detail of the cooking process.”

Hurricane Dorian, from Puerto Rico to Florida

This 29 August 2019 video says about itself:

From the South: As Tropical Storm Dorian is upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, we speak to Puerto Rican journalist Jay Fonseca as it makes first contact with the island.

From CNN, 28 August 2019:

An 80-year-old man from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, died after falling from the roof of his home, Public Safety Secretary Elmer Roman confirmed during a briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The man climbed up a ladder and onto his roof to clean a drain while preparing for Hurricane Dorian.

By Julio Patron:

Puerto Rico weathers threat from Hurricane Dorian

29 August 2019

Tropical storm Dorian became a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday morning, hitting the US Virgin Islands as well as the southeast of Puerto Rico and its offshore islands of Vieques and Culebra on Wednesday afternoon. The island was placed under a flood warning, with the threat of landslides and power outages.

Weather forecasts have placed the storm as a Category 3 hurricane by early next week, set to strike the eastern coast of Florida with potentially catastrophic impact.

Dorian’s pass by Puerto Rico comes only two years after Hurricane Maria, and Irma before it, devastated the island, claiming an estimated 3,000 lives.

Over 4,600, other estimates say.

The storms left millions without basic necessities such as clean water, food, shelter and medical services, while devastating the already crumbling electrical grid, causing widespread and protracted power outages. Many Puerto Ricans were left without power for almost a year.

The effects of the inadequate response to the hurricane by the local and federal government can still be felt, with an estimated 30,000 homes still using blue tarps to cover hurricane-damaged roofs, leaving their occupants vulnerable to even heavy rainfalls.

Many on the island are still suffering the effects of post-traumatic stress resulting from the devastation and widespread deaths inflicted by Maria, with the threatened strike by Dorian reviving all of the trauma of two years ago.

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump repeated his absurd claim that Puerto Rico had received $92 billion in aid: “Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end? Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for ‘anywhere.’ ”

The reality is that only $42.7 billion in relief aid was appropriated by Congress for Hurricane Maria in 2017, a completely inadequate amount to actually rebuild the island’s infrastructure, and of that only $13.8 billion has been spent.

The negligent response of the US government was a deliberate policy backed by both the Democrats and Republicans. Instead of providing serious relief, the crisis was exploited to impose severe austerity, slash pensions, and close hundreds of schools with the aim of meeting payments to Puerto Rico’s bondholders on the island’s crushing debt.

The recently ousted administration of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló and the Trump administration in Washington bear chief responsibility for the social crisis that has developed in the wake of the hurricane.

Trump continued to bully and insult Puerto Rico on Wednesday, stating: “Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!” he wrote, “And by the way, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”

Democrat and mayor of San Juan Yulín Cruz tweeted Tuesday, “Three thousand Puerto Ricans did not open their eyes this morning because this racist man did not have it within him to do his job. So get out of the way, President Trump, and let the people who can do the job get the job done.”

Once again, there has been barely any attempt to prepare the Puerto Rican population for what could have been another disastrous storm. While President Trump declared a federal emergency for the island on Tuesday, it was revealed on the same day that his administration has redirected funds away from disaster relief to continue his prosecution of immigrants. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Homeland Security Department announced on Tuesday that they are diverting $1,551 million from FEMA’s disaster relief fund to pay for “detention beds” in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) concentration camps.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a meek criticism of the move, stating, “The Trump administration’s plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backwards and cruel.”

Despite this nominal “opposition” to diverting funds away from emergency funds towards ICE, the Democratic Party has played a critical role in funding this American Gestapo.

In June, House Democrats voted by a clear majority for an appropriations bill that gave $4.6 billion to ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). …

Just as with their support for the attack on immigrants, the Democrats share responsibility for the social catastrophe in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Ex-governor Rosselló is a member of the New Progressive Party (PNP) and the Democratic Party, and a member of the Democratic Governors Association. He was a delegate at the Democratic National Convention for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and [then President] Barack Obama in 2012.

The Rosselló administration was faced with an eruption of mass protests last month that brought over 500,000 Puerto Ricans into the streets. Triggered by the leaking of 900 instant messages by the Puerto Rican Center for Investigative Journalism, the protests expressed the pent-up social anger of the island’s working people over not only the protracted social disaster wrought by the hurricane, but the effects of a recession that has gripped Puerto Rico for the last dozen years.

What was revealed by the leaked messages was what workers already knew: that those in the top echelons of the island’s government were engaged in corruption all down the line and held the masses of Puerto Rican workers and youth in complete contempt, going so far as to joke about bodies filling the morgues after Hurricane Maria.

Rosselló announced his resignation from his post as governor on July 24, after 12 days of mass protests calling for his ouster. His replacement, Puerto Rico’s secretary of justice, Wanda Vázquez, who is implicated in the sweeping corruption scandals, has faced protests against her appointment, with the hashtag #WandaRenuncia (Wanda Resign) trending on Twitter.

CRISIS AVERTED IN PUERTO RICO The sun rose Wednesday over an anxiety-stricken island as the first major cyclone since Hurricane María barreled this way across the Caribbean. But as Hurricane Dorian skirted northward, the sun peered between parting clouds over a Puerto Rico at ease. [HuffPost]

6.0 QUAKE HITS PUERTO RICO A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck near Puerto Rico late Monday, rousing and scaring many from their sleep in the U.S. territory. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck 49 miles off the island’s northwest coast at a shallow depth of 6 miles. [AP]

FLORIDA READIES ITSELF FOR DORIAN Unsure where Hurricane Dorian is going to land over Labor Day weekend, many Florida residents faced a sense of helplessness as they prepared for what Trump said could be an “absolute monster” of a storm. [AP]

Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Dorian?

This 28 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Puerto Rico on edge as Tropical Storm Dorian nears. ABC News

Many in Puerto Rico are still living with the devastation of Hurricane Maria, including 30,000 residents still living under blue tarp roofs.

SAN JUAN MAYOR TO TRUMP: GET OUT OF THE WAY San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz lambasted Trump’s tepid response to a likely hurricane bearing down on Puerto Rico, telling him to “get out of the way” as officials prepare for a storm that could threaten recovery efforts still underway more than a year after Hurricane Maria. [HuffPost]

DISASTER RELIEF DOLLARS SENT TO BORDER Trump’s administration is set to pull $271 million from the Department of Homeland Security — including $155 million allocated for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund — to pay for immigrant detention and hearing space for asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico. [HuffPost]

Puerto Rican update

This 6 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

The political crisis in Puerto Rico continues as its Senate has sued against the appointment of Pedro Pierluisi as the new governor following Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation last week. Pierluisi was sworn in despite not having been confirmed by the Puerto Rican Senate. But he argues that he is in the line of succession for governor after being nominated as secretary of state by Rosselló last week. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz also sued after his swearing-in. We speak with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González for his analysis of the current political climate.