Sep 25, 2009, 6:54 AM
Dr. Bilal Robinson, an American who has been residing in The Gambia since 2000 has published a book, entitled the original cashew fruit cook book, with 45 ways to cook cashew fruit.
“This is the first cashew fruit book ever produced that uses a cashew fruit dough produced by a unique processing method, developed by the Terinfili Agro-Forestry CBO group of the Gambia”.
Dr. Bilal Robinson, the author of the book, told this reporter in an interview on Monday at The Point Office, that the idea is to expose the Gambian people on the values and uses of the cashew fruit, noting that the difference between the nut and the fruit is that “the nuts puts money in your pocket, while the fruits put food on your table that you can eat for a year.”
He said the idea is to decrease the number of fruits lost by producing it to food, saying “the cook book will enable anybody to be able to bake his own cashew fruit cake.”
Noting that they are the first to bake a cashew fruit cake in The Gambia, he said, “The cashew fruit cake was born in The Gambia and is the only item produced in The Gambia that you can find throughout the world.”
Dr. Bil Bilal Robinson, who was born in a small East Texas town, called Longview, is the second of the 4 children born to Willie LeRoy Robinson and Ruby Nell Newhouse. His only brother has his own Architecture firm based in the New York City and China. He has two sisters living in Texas, where his father a veteran of World War II also lives as a retired tailor in his 90’s.
Bill, as he is commonly known, attended high school in Longview and graduated in the upper level of his class. After high school, he chose to attend Southern University A&M, in Baton Ronge, La, where he majored in 6 Foreign Languages and Geography. He graduated with honors in 1967.
After graduation, he immediately joined the US Peace Corps as a volunteer and served his 2-year commitment in Venezuela with honour and distinction. He worked in many different capacities as a volunteer; in urban sports programmes, municipal duties and assignments, civic groups, agricultural and farmers’ co-cooperatives, primary and secondary education assignments.
His service in the Peace Corps prepared him for his first job upon return to America in 1969. This job was with CTW, Children TV Workshop, the parent and producers of “SESAME STREET”. In 1969, he was one of the early pioneers of “SESAME STREET” responsible for introducing the Spanish Language to both inner city Black kids and inner city Latino kids across the country. The daily programme format was designed to teach a large Latino and Blacks and rural Whites, who were not in any Head Start Programs, but had access to TV sets. During his time at “Sesame Street,” he returned to academia when he received a Martin Luther King Fellowship to study Urban Planning at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, graduating with honours in 1972.
After leaving CTW, he entered the field of Urban Planning, becoming the Chief Planner for Harlem, working with Community Board 9&10.
In 1973, he enrolled as a student at Columbia University in the doctorial programme under the graduate faculties programme, and graduated from Columbia in 1978, School of Architecture and Planning. He also worked in Telecommunication for the Bureau of Franchises under the defunct New York City Board of Estimates overseeing the cable franchises.
“The book is dedicated to the community of Darsilameh, the surrounding villages of Jokadu, and the Terinfili workers of The Gambia. They have given their time and talents towards meeting food shortages in our region and inspiring others to reduce the loss and spoilage of cashew and mango fruits by converting them into new food sources”.
The book is for sale at an amount of D1, 045 and interested persons can purchase the book at Timbooktoo Bookshop or contact the author on +220 9989053.
The cashew fruit cake and other cashew fruit products also produced by Terinfili Agro-Forestry group can be purchased at its bakery in Bakau on Sait Matty Road.