Fonio and black fonio are African grasses distantly related to maize and sorghum. Digitaria exilis and D. iburua were domesticated on the West African savanna around 5000 BCE, and are typical cereals in most respects. The tiny grains are made into porridge and couscous, popped, brewed into beer, and mixed with wheat to make breads.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee. By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.