“Dumboy is a very excellent dish. We Liberians would not exchange it for any foreign dishes that could be offered.”
JJ ROBERTS wrote in 1859:
“The natives whose villages we traversed, were most kind and obliging; Zodah Queah manifested his delight at our visit to his town by repeated embraces, and a bountiful supply of “dumb-bay” and “wheaney soup,”-whether of monkey, boa constrictor, or what not, no one presumed to inquire-sufficient that some of us thought we could discover traces of chicken, and set-to with a hearty good will, seeming not only to relish, but to do justice to King Zodah’s hospitality.”-African Repository, 1859.
Description of a lunch held at the home of a prominent upper-class citizen in 1870 to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the West Indies:
“We had scarcely finished friendly greetings when another little “stir” arrested our attention, and lo, a fine Liberian “Dumboy,” the very name of which is associated with so many pleasant reminiscences. Soup-plates, spoons, two large
dishes of the above-named article, with fat fowl soup, were placed before us. The Dumboy, notwithstanding its singular name, is a very excellent dish. We Liberians would not exchange it for any foreign dishes that could be offered. It is healthy, harmless and very nutritious.”
The guests at this lunch were First Lady Mrs. Roye, former First Lady Mrs. Benson, Mrs. Blyden, “consort” of Professor Edward Blyden, another Liberia College professor, and GW Gibson, then the Commissioner of Education, and later President of Liberia. -The LIBERIAN REGISTER, quoted in the African Repository, 1870.
Dumboy is derived from Bassa, “dor”-mortar, and “buoy”-cassava.
From Allen, William Ezra, PhD, “Sugar and coffee: a history of settler agriculture in nineteenth-century Liberia” (2002). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1068. http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/etd/1068