Monkey Bread is common name for Baobab tree in many parts of Africa. These monkey names are coming from the simple fact that monkeys eat the baobab’s fruit. The Baobab has a unique, distinctive look and emanates an almost mystical aura. It may become 1000 years and older.
The baobab is rich in calcium, and women and children in Senegal eat it for that reason. Hausi and Fulani farming communities concoct a drink from the fruit. Cooks use the leaves, particularly the young ones, like spinach, dried and powdered, in soups or sauces as a thickener, much like okra or file powder in the American South. The Wolofs of Senegal harvest young leaves in February or March and dry them to make a thickening powder for sauces eaten with couscous. The white powder from the seeds can be used as cream of tartar in baking. The acidic pulp acts like rennet and curdles milk.
The trees are important for survival for humans and animals alike. Myths surround it and it features as an icon in art and culture.
One version goes thus: at the time of Creation, the baobab complained to the Creator of the Universe that it wanted to be tall like the palm, beautiful with flowers like the flame tree, and on and on. The Creator grew so tired of the whining that the only thing to do was to turn the tree upside down to silence it. Myth has it that the tree never uttered a complaint afterward.
Thus the legendary baobab is really the ultimate survivor, living as it does in some of the harshest environments on Earth.