Thanks be to God for our life and every opportunity we have. I would like to followup on my Ghana article about their naming rituals, i would like to share my experience with the culinary part of their culture.
I did my "tour of duty" so to say in West Africa from 2009 to 2014, the first half of which i lived in Ghana. It is not that hard to go around as it was a former British colony, which means that like us, they are quite knowledgeable in some level of English.
But unlike us, their staple food is not rice, although they do have some rice dishes like jollof rice which is a cousin of arroz valenciana, i think. The rice is cooked in tomato sauce and mixed with meat or fish of choice. It is also paired with some fried plantain and spicy wakye gravy (pronounced as "wa-che").
This dish i actually liked.
But there was one time that we were invited deep into the country to visit one of the brothers that does his farming there. The town was quite far from the city as we needed to take a trip that lasted a few hours to reach there via trotro.
As we reached the place, they said that he was already in the farm so we needed to take a short walk into the forest. Short meaning a 2 hour walk deep into African forests, with me being the only foreigner. :) By the time we reached there, i was sweating tremendously. :))
We found them already harvesting their cassava. These must be the largest cassava i have ever seen!
We eventually went back to the house, and being evidently very hungry, we were offered to eat there. As i asked what was for dinner, they said that they were having fufu, and asked if i wanted some. I thought, FUFU?! What have i gotten myself into? :)) No offense meant, but Filipinos would understand what i mean.
As it turns out, fufu was not what i thought it was, but something that is quite familiar. Fufu is pounded boiled cassava mixed with boiled plantain. In short, it's the Ghanaian version of NILUPAK! (To my relief!)
But unlike us, Ghanaians do not eat Fufu as a dessert or merienda like we do. Rather, it is eaten as a staple, usually with pepper soup or palm nut soup with some meats and fish, as the one pictured above.
I think they were more offended in me when i said that we also have this in our country, but we eat it with sugar and shredded coconut. This statement seemed to be very despicable to them, something totally unimaginable.
As i have observed, they have a very high reverence into eating this food. As a farmer or an ordinary worker who has to earn his keep before he can put something on the table, they usually eat only in the afternoon, only after a hard day's work. When they come home, they still need to boil and pound the cassava and plantain, and cook the soup that goes with it. So, you see, the prep time for this is very long. That's why i do quite understand the comfort and satisfaction this meal brings to a hardworking person in Ghana. And although they only eat once daily for most of the week, i see that they are very strong. I guess that God's will is always good for us. Because that is how it's supposed to be eversince.
As the Good book says,
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
And actually, it is not that bad. as it quite bland, and the taste only depends on what soup you eat it with.
I have always believed you can learn a lot about one's culture thru their food. You will see the story of the people behind every meal in the culinary tradition. After that meal, i have gained greater appreciation of things that we often take for granted, and became more thankful of the things given to us.
I hope you enjoyed reading my post today, as i have making it. Thanks be to God, Aseda Nka Onyankopon.
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