A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 15, 2009
Mofongo

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Mofongo
Mofongo is a popular dish generally made with fried plantains or, less commonly, yuca and breadfruit. The dish is part of various Caribbean cuisines including Cuban cuisine (where it is known as fufu), Dominican cuisine and Puerto Rican Cuisine.

Description
Mofongo is generally made from fried green plantains, although fried yuca or breadfruit are possible, which is mashed and seasoned with broth, garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings or bits of bacon. It is often filled with vegetables, chicken, crab, shrimp, or beef and is often served with fried meat and chicken broth soup. Mofongo relleno, is the Dominican Republic version; it is stuffed with stewed beef, chicken or seafood poured and topped with stewed sauce.

Origins
A Dominican cookbook author says that mofongo in Dominican cuisine can be traced back to Puerto Rico but scholarship indicates the dish is ultimately of African origin and is a variant of a dish called “fufu” which is made from various starchy vegetables and was introduced to the Caribbean by Africans in the Spanish New World colonies such as the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and parts of Puerto Rico. But unlike mofongo where the unripened plantains are first fried, then mashed with broth and olive oil, fufu is made of either green or semi-ripe plantain boiled then mashed.

Google Books
Terry’s guide to Cuba:
Including the Isle of Pinea, with a chapter on the oce
an routes to the island; a handbook for travelers, with 2 specially drawn maps and 7 plans
By Thomas Philip Terry
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company
1926
Pg. 25:
In Bayamo this is known as mogo (a derivative of the Nigerian mofongo).

Google Books
Guidebook to San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S.A.
By Puerto Rico. Institute of Tourism
San Juan, Puerto Rico
1941
Pg. 14:
Mofongo con chicharrones. Another plantain product. The meat of the banana-like vegetable is baked and mashed with cracknels (fried pig skin), with garlic and other spices. 

Google Books
This Week in Puerto Rico
Volume 1, Issues 7-8
1948
Pg. 24:
Mofongo:
Google Books
The Silent Traveller in New York
By Yee Chiang
New York, NY: Day
1953
Our first course was called ‘Mofongo Con Chicharrones”, a delicious dish the main ingredient of which was crisp pig-skin.

Google Books
The Puerto Ricans
By Christopher Rand
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
1958
Pg. 23:
...they can always be found in the cheap little restaurants on the city’s Puerto Rican streets, along with a few other things like salcocho or the dish called mofongo, which is made on a base of mashed plantains and pork cracklings.

Google Books
The Art of Caribbean Cookery
By Carmen Aboy Valldej́uli
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1963
Pg. 102:
PLANTAINS WITH PORK CRACKLING
Mofongo

19 April 1964, New York (NY) Times, “The CIty: Off the Beaten Track” by Kate Simon, Pg. SMA43:
The PUERTO RICAN MARKET on Park Avenue between111th and 116th Streets is, particularly on a sunny Saturday, a social center for gossiping and people-watching under pink clouds or petticoats hanging above store fronts, and for ambling conversationally among the inside stalls of tomatoes, dasheen, plantains, sizzling pastelillos and mofongo, friezes of corsets and nightgowns, bristling mounds of hair curlers and plastic ornaments.

Google Books
24 November 1969, New York magazine, pg. 79, col. 1:
One of the world’s truly exotic sandwiches is mofongo, an extraordinary combination of crushed and ground plantains, spices and fried pork skins with a sauce ($1.85; expensive for a sandwich, but not for an adventure).

Google Books
Puerto Rico:
a profile

By Kai Wagenheim
New York, NY: Praeger
1970
Pg. 182:
Mofongo has been jocularly described as “a Puerto Rican matzoh ball.” It consists of mashed roasted plantain, combined with bacon and other spices and rolled into a ball. (it goes well with chicken soup.)

Google Books
New York—the city’s Latin soul
New York, NY: NYM Corp. (New York magazine, vol. 5, no. 32)
1972
Pg. 44:
...features a really basic Puerto Rican dish in mofongo, a spiced, crushed, baked plantain mixture combined with fried pork rinds ($1.75).

29 November 1978, New York (NY) Times, “THe Good Kitchens of Old San Juan” by Craig Claiborne, pg. C8:
At the Fuentes we dined on a fine platter of roast pig with crisp, brittle, nonfatty roast skin, tender, succulent morsels of roast meat and one of the island’s foremost specialties, mofongo, a curiously appealing mound of mashed fried plantains with pork cracklings, long-cooked pork skin that has a nutty flavor and an irresistable crisp richness.

Complementing these foods were a platter of hot, grilled, slightly spicy blood sausages and caldo, or rich broth made of chicken and containing meaty pieces of the bird. The mofongo gains character when dipped into the caldo before eating.

New York (NY) Daily News
Savoring the Caribbean in San Juan
By KAREN TINA HARRISON
Saturday, May 24th 2008, 4:00 AM
(...)
We’re talking empanadilla turnovers with truffle mojito sauce, risotto with chicharron (pork cracklings) and a makeover of the beloved local dish, mofongo — a Puerto Rican matzoh ball made from green plantains and pork. Benet tops his mofongo with a fat shrimp and lavishes it with saffron broth. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, September 15, 2009 • Permalink