What makes a Food Porridge?

porridge:
por|ridge pronunciation: /ˈpɒrɪdʒ

noun
[mass noun]chiefly British A dish consisting of oatmeal or another meal or cereal boiled in water or milk.

 Why am I writing a post on porridge? Don’t ask me because I don’t know. Where did I get the super incredible idea for this post? I know the answer to this one. Well, here is what happened…
I was late for work that morning so I packed something which I would eat when I got to the office. When I got to the office, I started munching away as soon as I could. The earlier I eat it, the lesser the risk of my colleagues seeing me and asking to share. Yes I think like a child when it comes to food. Don’t blame me, blame my tongue, throat and that guy called stomach.
While I was eating this plate of sweet something, my boss walked in. He looked at me and smiled. Half way into his office he asks me, “are you eating kekefa?” I’m like, “sorry?” He rephrases and says, “are you eating porridge plantain?” I was like, “yes o!” He was like “can you cook?” I was like, “I can cook food that you’ll eat to survive, you know nothing too special.” You all know how office small talk is.
That was when it hit me, why did he call “kekefa” porridge plantian? Okay, yes I didn’t know that “kekefa” was the name Bayelsans call this kind of food but this was not in anyway a porridge [check definition above]. I remembered an episode of Barney and Friends where they re-enacted the story of the 3 bears and that little white girl who missed her way. You know the story right? Well, what they called porridge was oats, ugly looking white coloured oats.
So what makes a Nigerian dish Porridge?
For those of  you who don’t know. We have a few types of porridge that I can remember:
 * Plantain Porridge
* Yam Porridge
 * Beans Porridge
 * Cocoyam Porridge
If you have invented a new one, do let me know.
porridge plantain, yam and beans

I took the time to create a table of the similar ingredients used in making Nigerian porridges. Yes I am bored at work. Yes I TOOK TIME to create this horrible table.  All I’m saying is that these foods have almost the same type of ingredients. But it still doesn’t answer the question of why we call them porridge. Honestly I don’t know why, maybe its because we mash them up after they are done. Maybe it is just British influence and the need to have an English name for everything. I don’t know. What do you think?

Should we just say it is Nigerian English?

 p.s: I had to use the oxford online dictionary version because I wasn’t trained to use that woman’s dictionary. You know, that Marriam lady. Why should I use hers when I was punished in secondary school any day I forgot to carry my super heavy OXFORD ADVANCED LEARNERS DICTIONARY to school? Thank you British people.
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Ebola: Schools Resume in October – Housewives are not Happy

I have this neighbour who has 4 children, an always at work husband and no maid. As you can imagine she is on the verge of losing her mind with all these children to take care of.

Side note: She is an extreme housewife – she cooks, handles the children and her man. Tries her best to make sure the house is clean (most times). She goes out to buy fuel for the generator, refill the gas cylinder for the house and picks the children from school all with public transport while her husband drives to work in the morning and gets back in the evening to eat, fall asleep and run away the next morning. WHO KNEW MEN WERE SO HARDWORKING? Just saying.

Back to my interesting story, when school is in session she’ll drop the kids off at the bus stand and just before she steps into the house with the little baby on her back she’ll scream “Finally” to the hearing of everybody in the compound. I said scream not “sigh.”

So when the President gave the order that the resumption date of schools be postponed to October she wasn’t too happy about it. She had already started a countdown to the date of school resumption for her bundles of errrr joy.

 

REMEMBER TO USE HAND SANITIZERS.

 

I Don’t Remember His Smile

We warned him! The pastor warned him! He received a warning from us. We told him that place was not safe. We told him to be here that night for the church vigil. He was warned I repeat! He cannot blame us. We refuse to feel pity for him!

My elders, I know he was warned. He was a stubborn fellow. In that stubbornness and rigidity he always told me my food tasted like heaven. Sometimes, the way he said it made me feel like one day we would end up having a life together. That is what I remember the most.

Stop talking Woman! He was told! He was told that place would lead to his end. There are several ghettos to live in, but he never wanted to leave this one. He would always say he wanted to move from here to a gated community. We tried to tell him that life was something to be taken slowly but he would not listen. Children of these times! We warned him!

“Hello, sorry to interrupt you. My name is Sira. I knew him. He was fair, from Akwa Ibom and always helped to lock up the church after sunday service. I can imagine the look in his eyes when that gun was pointed to his head. I can imagine that the taste of Woman’s food was one of the things he thought about in those last moments. I am troubled because I saw him 3 days prior to his departure but I cannot remember his smile.”

Golden Honey Pot

Her words are calming and ensuring.

With each syllable, she draws you in slowly.

Slowly you’re drawn into her illusion of a golden honey pot.

It is too good to be true but your mind reminds you of her ensuring words and then you become calm.

She tells you that so many people have benefited from her venture.

You believe her even more.

“Here, take my money!”

It will seem as if, your breathe should be the unit of time.

She who once drew you in is now hard to cling to.

“The number you have dialled is not available at the moment, please try again later.”

You try again every two moments.

And then the realisation of truth comes.

You are reminded that golden honey pots do not exist.

If they did, the bees would have made you work for it.

How to be a Nigerian Christian

E dey really difficult to be christian for Naija. As I don learn so far. The Naija christian na sub-specie of humans wey believe say whatever another human being wey stand for altar talk na truth and final and totally correct. I no dey against pastors o.

Before person go talk say e be christian, e mean say e ready to dey bound by some laws because we believe say these laws na e go guide us through this journey of life.

But the Naija christian no like these laws until them get no option left. The naija christian like to twist these laws to how e take sweet them.

So if you wan become naija christian wey dey very good at judging others, na wetin you go do be this –

1.) Start to go church seriously when you turn 30 and husband no gree come as a woman.

2.) Your husband na your head until you start to get money pass him. Then you fit wrap am around your fingers and give testimony for church saying ” Now my husband wey no dey listen to me before, don dey listen to me”.

3.) Make sure say you don try every other means of getting ego, I mean money. Try every way to make sure your pepper red. If e no gree red after all your covenants with mammy water spirits, then go to TB Joshua for deliverance and annointing water. You just have to endure the on-camera humiliation.

4.) T B Joshua na your last bus stop.

5.) Make sure you dey go church wey your pastor dey see vision. If not, e no be real pastor.

6.) If your pastor dey see vision and e tell you say you go die- you have 2 options: a) No believe wetin your pastor dey talk because for your mind of minds you know say you no go die. b) When you wake up in hell fire you no go get mind to think anything.

7.) If you do any bad thing to anybody especially your pastor, you go go hell fire.

8.) Make sure say you resemble granny when you dey go church. Church timing na 5 hours every week. I know say you go fit endure that 5 hours. After all, you go wear all the sexy gowns and short skirts you want for the remaining hours of the week. God dey look your heart abi?

9.) Make sure say you dey go one of the most popular churches in town. So that when people ask you “which church you dey go?” You go answer with all pride and efizzy then call your pastor name and which of the services you like to attend – 2nd or 4th service.

10.) Judge me for everything wey I don write then say something like “na people like her wey dey support gays”. Although, you dey comfortable with lesbians.

Your Dreams are Valid so long as…

(This post is for those Africans who do not posses a work permit in a white man’s country)

1. Your parents have political influence.

2. The said political influence is as a result of being wealthy through politics in an African nation.

3. You don’t need a loan to go to an Ivy League college.

4. You already speak a foreign language

5. You are African but have a Passport of a nation owned  by people who are not Africans.

6. You live in the United States of America, the United Kingdom or any other non African nation.

Your dreams will be forever locked up in your head until you get out of Africa!

I know Femi Kuti said he stays in Nigeria to prove that you make it in life even if you stay in Nigeria. If you like,  stay! Forget say e father na Fela and e dey travel out well well.

I’m not saying Naija  is that bad, all I’m saying is you need a place where you can get access to the things you want to become. Especially if it has to do with the Film industry. If you want to be known internationally, America is the place to be. That is just how things are. For now.

Chimamanda and Chika Unigwe and Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka and Omotola and D’banj and Genevieve and that other guy who wrote a book about Las Vegas… will tell you that what I’m saying is true.

Out of Africa is the way in.

And Lupita, I love you! You’re the revolution.

 

While He Sleeps

Born in 1974 in Cotonou.

Came to the city for a better life.

Gained admission to study political science in the university.

Dropped out.

Through a church member, decided to train to be a videographer.

Life was good again.

Even created an IMDB profile.

Went back to his home town.

Started life as a full grown man.

Total independence. Total hard work. Total hustle.

A woman and 2 kids come along.

I visit home sometime in 2012. I see him, we talk about a project I want to do with him about my grandfather. His father. We even gave it a name.

The Biafran old soldier.

Some days later. I’m back in India. I search for his Facebook ID. It would have made our communication cheaper.

I can not find it.

I find his IMDB page instead. I read all the credits to his name.

Unbelievable. I smile. Yet angry that I can’t find his Facebook ID, as the Hare Krishnas chant to my hearing.

My creative mind imagines a scenario where the both of us accept an Oscar for our documentary. An uncle and niece duo we would be called. Making Nigeria proud.

Or so I thought.

December 5th 2013. Invitation to his traditional marriage slated for the 7th of December 2013. The family is happy.

December 27th 2013. I am in the kitchen washing plates. Dad’s phone rings –

“Tell me it is not true! When?! How?!”

The phone call ends.

Dad stands by the kitchen door.

“Oputa is dead. His boat capsized last night.”

I say “okay” and continue with the dishes.

Dad’s words are on repeat in my mind. I still feel nothing.

A few hours later…

I get into the bathroom, turn on the shower and then it hit me. I did my silent cry. Unnoticeable. Even the mirror didn’t know I was crying as the tears mixed with the water.

It was only last night that I re-imagined us doing our Oscar speech.

I search for his Facebook ID, again.

I find it.

His profile picture carries that smile that says not to worry about anything.

Tributes on his wall.

The tears start again.

This time it has sunk in.

Just to be sure, I click the ‘Add As Friend’ button.

My request has still not been accepted.

Quote

If you want children to love you, buy them cheese balls. Their mums will hate you because they will be the ones who will do the laundry later. But these mums will hate you even more if you don’t buy them their own packets of cheese balls.

A Very Nigerian New Year

It was the first of January.

She woke up.

Dad shouted her name, She answered.

Dad told her,
“Get dressed.”

Her heart jumped.

Dad continued,
“Eat.”

Her heart was gladdened.

Dad paused.

She pictured the electric blue gown she would wear in her mind’s eye. She could only wait to be told the destination dad was about to take her to.

Then dad said,
“Pick up a knife, you and your sisters need to peel those cassavas in the backyard so that the garri can be fried today.”

She obeyed,
“Yes daddy.”

I am she.

WAR – War Against Rats

I remember in the days of old, when my chest was still flat and I didn’t know how babies were made. Yes, those are the days I speak of. That was when I had my first experience of WAR.

I remember it so vividly because it is never easy to forget the first time a person experiences something as ravaging as a WAR.

I was in the kitchen, doing my duty – washing dishes with all honour and glandeur. Not knowing I would be called up to battle at any moment.

I heard screams,

“Where e dey?”

“Daddy, e dey under the chair.”

“No allow am run o, check that side! Check that side!” Those were the orders given to my brother by my father.

“Daddy, see am! See am eh! E don enter the kitchen!” Screamed brother.

After I heard brother say “kitchen”, I became alert. This was my territory. The ball was in my court. I had to prove my honour. I had to do something. I picked up a broom and took the posture of a woman ready for battle.

Father entered the kitchen and gave the following speech –

“Daughter, guard the main door. Son, guard the door to the store room and I shall guard the door to the backyard.

Remember, today is the day you prove how authentic of a Nigerian you are. You cannot be a good wife or husband if you don’t know how to kill a rat.”

And then he gave the final command, “Do not let the rat out of your sight.”

Now, the rat was under the freezer which was close to the main door which is the door I happened to be guarding. How convenient.

The rat hunt began. All three of us, sticking our brooms underneath the freezer, in every which way. Just to make this rat come out.

It was not an easy battle for me. If a man tells people he killed a rat, everybody would believe him. Whether it was true or not. If I told people I killed a rat, my statement would be followed by a series of “hahas”. I had to prove myself in front of these men so as to have allies. I had to prove that whatever a man could do, a woman could do it better.

As you can imagine, I had never been so alert in my life. Adrenaline pumping, soapy greasy hands holding my broom and then the rat came out.

The grayish black, 3kg weighing rat came out and I ran.

This was not your average white people mouse or mice. I repeat, it was not a white cute mouse with a pink pretty round nose and tail.

It was a rat. A black people’s rat. The kind of which you hear tales about. Tales of rats who conquered cats in their kingdoms. These are the kind of rats that made cat owners throw their cats away. It was this kind.

There was no where to run to. But boy did I run. I ran away from the freezer to my assigned post. But something weird was happening.

As I ran, it seemed as if the voices of father and brother kept following me. It was strange. If the rat was out, father and brother were supposed to chase after the rat and not me. Except, the rat was behind me and chasing me. Which would make father and brother come after it and that would make it seem like they were coming after me. Right?

Right. After I got to my post, I turned around and saw my soon to be allies running towards me. They kept hitting their brooms on the floor with strength and aim but it seemed like the more they hit the ground, the closer they got to me. What it seemed, was what it was.

I was starting to panic and then a command came from father, “daughter! Hit it! Hit it!” I lifted up my broom and it was the worst mistake of my life. Because just as I was about to do that, the enemy ran up my feet, went past my stomach and headed straight for my chest.

I’m Nigerian, if not, I would have fainted.

I threw the broom away. Struggled with the 3kg weighing enemy who was now tangled in my shirt buttons and I just decided to die.

I didn’t die.

There was no where to run to. Every door was shut. I know it was shut because while I was trying to de tangle myself from the enemy, I stepped back and tried to push the main door open. Now that I remember it, I should have just pulled the door. By this time, I was half naked and technically crazy.

Children, when I tell you that battles won in the kitchen are great battles, believe me.

I have told you stories of battles of how mother caught me stealing meat from the pot because it was too hot and not easy to chew. I blame sister for bringing it down from the stove too soon.

I have also told you the story of how mother caught me, again, stealing peak milk because she asked me to spell ‘crook’. But nothing compares to the War Against Rats.