When I was in Nigeria and still a kid, I used to think my mom was not being nice by always having us eat traditional African/Nigerian meals like tuwo, garri, okra soup, egusi soup and all the “nasty” tasting stuff.
Rice and stew, jollof rice and spaghetti were “rich” folks’ food, or so I thought. I always felt like I was in heaven when we had those. I couldn’t understand why rice and stew was eaten mostly on Sunday afternoons.
One other meal I had no option but to eat was “gote,” a traditional berom meal. However, before I left Nigeria, it somehow became my favorite meal. I still didn’t like the the soups, and the tuwos and all that stuff.
It didn’t take three months after I left Nigeria to begin to miss all the “nasty” tasting stuff. Jollof rice became the only Nigerian meal I could have. My aunty used to make some delicious jollof rice. It felt like heaven whenever we had jollof rice.
Sometimes, my aunty would use the very few ingredients that sort of tasted like Nigerian ingredients and make us okra soup or peanut soup.
Some Nigerians had links to getting ingredients from wherever they got them. so, I only got to eat all the real Nigerian meal at Nigerian parties. But even then, all the men would have the best of the meal, then the women would have the best of what the men left behind, then the teenagers and children would have the rest… that thing used to get me really annoyed.
Things got better when a Nigerian friend of mine here would invite me to her house and cook me some eba and egusi soup and stock me up with some garri when I was leaving.
Things just got even better! My Ghanaian colleague went over the the United States Virgin Islands for a wedding, where she met a Nigerian lady who sells ingredients for Nigerian meals…. Bliss!
I’m typing this post with a bag of garri, pounded yam flour, egusi, crayfish, fufu powder and stock fish sitting on my desk. So tonight, I’m going to be getting my self some really good Nigerian meal. I can’t decide if I should even soak some garri at my desk for lunch or if I should just wait and have some egba tonight.
Life is good again. Goodbye rice, goodbye spaghetti, goodbye bye “rich man’s food.” I have me some “poor man’s food,” and I shall be alright.
No, you’re not welcome to my house for dinner!