Monday, April 8, 2013

IF I FAT COME BACK FROM THIS AMERICA...The food too much abeg By Ena Ofugara

This past Sunday I tried to wear the native attire I brought from Nigeria just over a year ago and I tore it. I mean as it passsed my head I heard "tia". But I was determined to show i was Nigerian in this new very white-dominated church I attended the previous Sunday. I wanted them to know I am not a black American (as if my accent wasn't enough evidence). So despite the shirt's "tia" sound, I tried to wear the trousers and you know native trousers have waists so wide and a rope to tie it tighter. As I tied it and walked up the stairs, this time it was"kpia" I heard and behold looking at my "agada (crotch) I found a hole so big, Yokozuna can pass through and that was when I knew "e done dey happen oh!!! America food done dey enter my body"

You never know you are getting fat as a guy. It is girls that are paranoid about their weight that even a lekpa (thin girl) that adds big stones to her bag so the wind will not blow her from Lekki beach to 1004 apartments will be saying "Ena i am getting too fat" Mtchewww! You wish!. For us guys it is clothes that tell us cos we do not spend inordinate times naked in front of the mirror. And even when we do, we usually are admiring something else, telling ourselves that "objects in mirrors are bigger than they appear" And then we rub our stomach and say "evidence of hammer" (wealth)

Okay I was born big (11 kg at birth) but my hyper active "talki talki" play play self lost all the weight. people who remember me from Uniben would describe me as thin. In fact Osemotan Okosun, my blooder,  jibed me one day when I said I wanted to carry weights and pick up muscles, he said "Ena, dem no dey turn bone to muscle. Try chop make you fat first". CHAI!!! He discouraged me from becoming Nigeria's Arnold Shwarzenegger with that one "yabis". Semo, let your conscience judge you. lol

Now I am  from  a very middle-class background so growing up there was as much food at our table as was in any table around us so when I compare eating styles and habits, know it is done with the average family in mind....a little better than average perhaps.

You know how in Nigeria you can eat a big plate of eba and or foofoo/akpu and to see the meat you may have to scuba dive to the bottom of the bowl. And when rice is served even in parties, sometimes two Magi-cube looking object will lie atop the rice and you usually finish the rice before you eat the meat. Yes, we were taught that you should save the best for last. Then as you finish the rice/eba, u drink a big cup of water to fill whatever space that is left. In fact I remember the gist about a guy that said to a "mama put". (food seller)

Customer: "madam give me eight raps of akpu"

Mama Put:   "how much meat?"

Customer: "meat at you own risk"

Another version perhaps of that story is

Customer: "madam, give me eight raps of akpu"

Mama: "how much meat?"

"I dey hurry madam. No time to chew the  meat.  I done late for work"

So with this background i arrived America and I was taken out by Kimberly. As we sat down, they brought a large bowl of chips which is like fried black plantain but it is made of corn and then sauce to dip it in. Then a large bowl of small chicken thighs (at least sixteen). Then leaves fried in oils, tasting like meat (you should try it if you cook) and then wines.

Trust me I attacked the chicken thighs particularly and remembered my manners not to "talk while eating"....well it was so I could really eat as much and as quickly before one friend will come and visit me and reduce my ration (as if na Naija i dey and visitors that know your eating schedule and visit only then)

So having eaten to my fill and belched as silently as i could, the waiter came and said

Waiter: "can I take your order now"

("TAKE MY ORDER OR BILL"?) I wanted to scream and he added

Waiter: "how did you like your appetizer" 

Ena:( "APPETIZER???? This many chicken lap naim you dey call appetizer????" But not to "fall my hand" (disgrace myself), "Oh nice. Very filling"

( I started perusing the menu which made little sense to me because i did not know the foods so I asked)

Ena:  "So what tastes really good here?"

then the waiter started mentioning different types of meats and saying"well done" "medium rare" etc...things that made even less sense to me. But I am humble so I asked

Ena "what is medium rare"? Is it a rare kind of meat like dinosaur or mammoth" (this na America. the hunters fit dey catch meat from Jurasic park)

Waiter: (The waiter smiles in a kind of embarrased way)  "medium rare means half cooked"

Ena: (Chei!!! half-cooked wey kerosine no finish for stove? why people go dey chop half done meat?) Emm. Gimme the Pork ribs on marinade...no.... (I no know wetin marinade mean) in Barbecue sauce.

Waiter: And what two sides do you want?

Ena: Sides? the side of the pork I want to eat? the ribs na. Where there's the "yokoyoko" oil.

Waiter: em...by sides I mean um... cornbread muffins, rice, potatoes, grilled zucchini salad with lemon and scallions...

Ena: Em...(Rice na side abi na rice be the main food? Godabegoooo)

And so the food is served and indeed the rice I ordered was really "the side". It is the meat that is the main food. So unlike Nigeria where you will scoop like ten spoonfuls of rice and cut a lil bit of meat to manage it till the end, here you are eating the meat and then scooping some rice or zucchini to balance the meat.

So greedy me and because the "well done" meat I ordered tasted so good, I began stuffing myself and small water is leaving my eyes from the overfeeding.
Now Kim sees me struggling with the food and she says

Kim: "are you full?"

Ena: (Full wetin? make i leave better well cooked pig for who? No be money dem take buy am????) Not really. (I straighten up, move in my seat to allow more space in my stomach and delve into the meat...sorry food again. I at least finish the meat and as if on cue the waiter brings a large bowl of ice cream and large cake in the center and smiles.

Waiter: Your dessert.

Ena (dessert. hmmm. E get as you go chop only this cake, lick the ice cream, drink one correct cup of water and you done chop correct morning food be that till "eba hour" in the afternoon. I love cakes and ice cream. Living alone, it is something I always get from the mall. But that day I looked at the waiter with hate in my eyes. I wanted to ask him "dessert wetin??? Na so Arab people dey chop for "desert" na im dem thin? No dey call am dessert again. Find name call am" But instead I smile and still greedy me, I scoop some ice cream and after all it is just water. It will find a way to settle to the bottom of my stomach, past the meat and meat and meat and rice etc.

So as the bill is paid and waiter tipped, I walk sluggishly like a cobra that swallowed a full cow and unable to say a word on the way home. As I lay on the bed, food poured right back into my mouth and nose and i ran to the bathroom to retch out the food that I had so greedily engorged myself with

Okay that was high-end feeding. MacDonald has one dollar burgers that would fill u up in seconds. Remember the meat and dough is ground so flat that you dont even chew as it slides down your throat ,making you ingest faster and more as chewing is dispensed with. And the sodas... (no vex, na "soda" dem dey call minerals like fanta coke pepsi etc)... and for a dollar six cents, you are given one large cup and you go to a fountain or dispenser and you fill your coke or sprite from the tap and you can go five hundred tiimes as long as it is the same visit...as in you have not left finally. So you can drink coke till you drown for one dollar 6 cents.

So when you see people that you knew were thin in Nigeria like me put on weight, no, it is not that I now have money. NA LIE. Food is very cheap here and the achievement is not in the weight you are able to put on whereas in Nigeria people will say "your husband/wife dey take care of you oh. see as you come FRESH", here it is staying thin that is expensive.

So if I "rebuuu" or "orobo" come back, no be my fault. BLAME AMERICA