I started carpooling with a bunch of people a month ago. The difference this has made to my $300 a month gas bill is just amazing. Besides, chatting with others makes the hour-long commute shorter. It can also be interesting considering that all three of them hold Ph.D.s. Interesting – and a tad over whelming. I think I have also become smarter after five days a week of listening to thoughts on philosophy, medieval literature, particle acceleration, event horizons, supernovas, protons, and I recall falling asleep when chess moves were being debated.
Anyway, yesterday, one of my carpooling buddies who also happened to be Chinese was asked me if I missed Nigerian food. I told her that I missed some foods but I am able to cook a lot because there was an African store not too far from where I lived. Then we started talking about ethnic food. For the purpose of this post I will call her Lee.
“Chinese food in America, is it really the same in China?” I asked.
“No, no, too fried…. too sweet. We steam most of our food,” Lee replied.
“Oh, I thought so… but I do like the way the chicken is made. Speaking of chicken why are the so small in this country? It’s like they don’t allow them to grow properly before processing them.”
“No, their life cycle is like 48 hours and they inject them with hormones so their breasts grow big. They can’t stand because of their big breasts!”
“Ewwww. That is disgusting!” I exclaimed. “Now I am going to have to look for organic chicken.”
“I tried buying organic but – too expensive,” Lee said.
“I love chicken feet too!” Lee replied.
Then the discussion went on to how different cultures value different parts of animals. Nigerians like goat head, chicken feet, cowtail while Chinese like pig’s feet, and lots of pork parts, rabbits and more.
It got me thinking how true they say about one man’s food being another man’s poison. I remember how buying “bush meat” along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway back in the 90s was such a big deal to me and my siblings. My father would divvy up the meat and we would enjoy it with relish. We had no idea what exactly the meat was. It could have been a rabbit, monkey or giant rodent. But “bush meat” was just delicious and different from the regular fish-chicken-cow we were used to.
Last week, a friend of ours had a groupon for Highland Tap that was about to expire so she invited us to go to with her. I ordered my first escargot in puff pastry. I was not impressed. I ended up drenching the thing in hot sauce in order to stomach the damn thing. I explained to my guests (one or two were wrinkled their noses at the idea of eating snails) how we Nigerians cook our snails – properly washed with lime and salt to get the slime off, and stir fried with tomatoes and peppers and spices. Yum! (End result not pictured) Yes, my friends. Nigerians can teach the French a thing or two about escargot. Pair with red wine blend and you have heaven.
Oh this post got all random on me. Sorry. I made egusi with ugu for the first time this week. I usually use spinach but my sister convinced to try using dried ugu. Not too bad. A tip though – boil the ugu to get rid of the old and musty taste that comes with dried vegetables, wash thoroughly before adding to the soup. I would like to apologize to El Divine who was in Atlanta last week but I was unable to find time for a meet and greet. I did not even have any food prepared, so I can say that was my inspiration to make some egusi with goat meat. And also goat meat pepper soup that Turtle decimated in one seating.
Well sha, until next time my peoples.