The um is still used for cooking in many places in the Marshalls. An um is an earth oven, a hole dug in the ground, filled with firewood and stones. When the stones are sufficiently heated, commonly red hot, they are spread out, thereby creating a pit lined with heated stones. Food parcels, consisting of food wrapped in leaves. The leaves are covered sand and soil, effectively sealing off the oven, which acts, in principle, like a steam cooker. After two to four hours, depending on the kind of food being cooked, the food is ready. [back]