One man’s food is another man’s poison.

23 Sep

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.

“The chicken thighs are not bad.  They are big enough and I love chicken feet.  I don’t know why th
ey don’t sell them here.”

“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.

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13 Responses to “One man’s food is another man’s poison.”

  1. majo September 23, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    what does “ethnic food” mean. is everything but european food tagged “ethnic”? abeg don’t buy into that hype man. oyinbo food is also “ethnic”. and exotic

  2. lucidlilith September 23, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Ethnic food means food coming from or eaten by a particular group of people. Eg. Goat Pepper soup is an ethnic meal eaten by Nigerians. Fufu is ethnic food consumed by people in many countries in Africa. Hamburgers are ethnic to North Americans.

    • Myne Whitman September 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

      I’m sure you guys did not talk about hamburgers that day, lol…

      • EDJ (@egodujour) September 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

        LOL. Mac & Cheese, Philly Cheese Steak, Croissant, Bagel, even Baconnaise and Hot Pockets are ethnic food. In fact, all food is ethnic. I firmly believe this.

        • lucidlilith September 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

          True – all food is ethnic but the discussion I had with Lee pertained to My ethnic food vs. her ethnic food. I wasn’t trying to perpetuate a stereotype…i think…

          eth·nic
          adjective
          1.
          pertaining to or characteristic of a people, especially a group (ethnic group) sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like.

  3. Taynement September 23, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Too get more info on the food/chicken from this country you shoudl watch Food Inc (if you haven’t) It’s streaming on Netflix. MOst people I know were disgusted by it but i found it interesting.

    • lucidlilith September 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      Girl, I just googled chicken farming or broiler and it is disgusting. They actually grow in 39 days and are so breast heavy they can’t stand. I tried to find the cost of free-range chicken and I tell you, it is expensive. But I know they taste better. I remember eating chicken from my grandmother’s farm. Those were gooooood!

      • Ginger September 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

        But its the same back home!!! Broilers are genetically modified to grow fast within a short time. isnt that why you have so much chicken available? don’t knock it dear.

        had me some fried snails straight from Nigeria recently. yum yum.

  4. Myne Whitman September 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Your soup looks great, our African store is not so versatile, I give up most times.

  5. EDJ (@egodujour) September 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Well about the chicken thing, I have faith in my local Whole Foods and I don’t think their chicken are raised in as crowded conditions. http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2011/02/5-step-chicken-whats-in-a-number/

    • lucidlilith September 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      This is really useful. I am going to start checking for those labels.

  6. one3snapshot September 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    I so feel your pain on that $300/month gas bill. My heart fluctuates with the price of gas moreso than when the stock market jumps around cos I have an hour-long commute as well.

    Your egusi looks delish! Isn’t the dried ugu already pre-washed? do you put yours in the freezer? I put mine in the freezer as soon as I get it. Maybe the icicles help prevent the musty taste.

    Fried snails….yum!!

  7. HoneyDame September 28, 2011 at 4:25 am #

    I took a class on food and culture last semester and thought I would never be able to eat anything in this country. It also revealed to me how diverse food cultures are. With pride I talk about eating goat balls because now I know a whole lot more “disgusting” parts/animals that some people somewhere eat.

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