Its 9.02 on this musty Thursday evening, The Jubaili Bros are having their nightly concert in my neighbourhood. There’s nothing to watch on TV and nil in my fast expanding belly.
On these incredibly dull work nights, I find I have to entertain myself – besides, rotting my mind with hours of Peter Perfect and other big production primetime television series such as BET’s Hell Date, I express myself by exploring the extensive Yoruba cuisine – the ever so limiting, greasy and very unfriendly bed of choices.
It starts with baby steps towards the four legged plastic box also known as the refrigerator, which I always open with enthusiasm even though the last visit was ten minutes ago and although I have a photographic memory of its contents, I always hope perhaps, something exciting might have just accidently placed itself there. But it just reminds me of you.
All over my kitchen are memories of you – in my sink, in my cabinet, in my fridge; you display the many hairstyles you wore.
I can’t help but think about the first time we met, you visited with your Uncle Ben – a good friend of my nanny. You were wearing that bright orange top. Your uncle boasted about your many talents – you could steam, stir-fry and boil. You were a citizen of the world from Latin America to Thailand to Bombay to Kingston where you have a brother named Peas.
I remember becoming incredibly drawn to you – your polished pale white skin made you very desirable to this pre-pubescent Ijebu boy. Which is why 20-something odd years later, these flashbacks are as intense as ever. Our consuming romance has made me uncontrollably dependent on you and in the same token, sick of you.
I find that I end up caressing you with my tongue on average, twice in an ordinary day. When I’m away from home, no matter what duck a l’orange or smoked salmon dish is placed before me, I wait until I can smell you before I relax.
I used to creep late at nights as you slept in your favourite position in stainless steel pots and microwavable containers. You often pushed me away but sometimes let me have my way. We both feel guilty the morning-after and I have a bodging belly as memory. But, after years of this ‘grain’ love, I decided as much as it will hurt my palette, to give up this long grain of love and take the ‘easy cook’ way out.
All my friends have different codes when they address you nowadays because the mentioning of your name brings me heartache. At the height of our love, some called you ‘designer’; some ‘ofada’ while others preferred ‘jollof’. My grandma on the other hand, still calls you ‘Iresi’.
My Ijebu relatives were initially upset because you hooked my heart and skata the inevitable nuptials to the luscious ‘Ikokore’, but I fought them to a standstill, they now use spoons and forks to embrace you. The others use their bare hands and that is BIG where I come from. We were like Amy and her Blake-incarcerated, even Zeb Ejiro wrote a script about our ‘romanzee’ titled “Kilon Sparkles: Basmati lon boils!”
I feel you have a hold on my heart. How will I ever get over you – you are everywhere I go – Tastee, Tantalizers, Munchies, Mama Put, White House, Belgium joint, Ghana High, Finicky, China town, YO!Sushi. Sigh!
Your love is affecting everyone around me – you’ve left my brother bloated, my nieces can’t play when you’re not here so they now befriend couscous.
The entire community knows about us even the local market women taunt me with ‘derica’ and ‘kongo’ as I walk through their stalls. They just want me to take you home and give you a good rinsing but like they say, too much of anything is not good and I think I’d rather go speed dating with ‘yamarita’, because this is bad….real bad, Michael Jackson!
This week’s Friday Track is Rihanna’s Go Hard. I don’t think the self-proclaimed ‘hottest b***h in heels…’ has ever made the Friday Track but we do endorse this EXPLOSIVE single featuring Young Jeezy.