What it is: Cassava, also known as yams (not the oceanic ones!) are edible tubers that grow on a certain family of tree. Commonly grown in parts of West Africa they are exported to other countries raw, cooked or in pill or powdered form for their health properties.
Legend has it that cassava can increase the chance of a woman falling pregnant with fraternal twins or triplets, by causing hyperovulation (more than one egg dropping at once). Tribes that regularly eat yams as part of their daily diet are said to have some of the highest rates of multiple birth in the world.
How it tastes: Yams have a creamy taste. They also have a more starchy and fibrous texture than similar tasting food (such as potato or sweet potato). They can be quite bland, so often need some sauce or flavoring added.
Tips: Yams are often confused with the sweet potato – however the two are completely different. Many western stores sell sweet potatoes, incorrectly labelled as yams. Yams can also grow as big as 100 pounds. Yams should always be cooked to remove cyanogenic glycosides which can have ill effects on the human body.