Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You've Bean Served!

I remember the time
You never liked me at all
Though Mama coaxed and Aunty threatened,
Your dislike for me just got more intense
You never thought I made any sense

Then you went to boarding school,
Breathing many a sigh of relief
But to your horror,
There I was, a major part the welcoming committee:
Rice & Beans! Grits & Beans!! Weevils & Beans!!! Pap & Beans!
(Actually, the Kunu & Kosai was nice-
Kunu & Kosai ke? It’s Pap & Bean-Cake, bush girl!” Your School Mummy teased)

For six years, it was-
Beans, Beans, and more Beans
Until one day, you simply stopped fighting-
You fell in love with me
And now your week is so incomplete
Without me as your precious girki-treat

But enough of me and my lame info-
Please allow me to intro
Our very own maestro-
Mabel Segun!
[girki = cooking in Hausa]

-Brief Interlude-
Me: Whew! Beans dear, you are a great dish but a really crappy poet, ok? Just stick to your normal job.
Beans: Whaat?! Do you know how long it took me to create that masterpiece?
Me: Not long enough. Don’t be offended. We are all gifted in different areas; all I’m saying is “akara becomes bone in the mouth of a toothless person”.
Beans: Eh?
Me: A Yoruba proverb, meaning a simple matter becomes a problem to a person of little ability.
Beans: Oook, it’s like that ba! Me too I sabi am- “Medicine that is mixed with food – if it does not cure the disease, it will cure hunger”. A Nupe proverb, meaning nothing is entirely useless. Even though the poem was crappy, it still passed a message across.
Me: Ok o.
Beans: And I have another proverb for you, since you are giving me the patronizing silent treatment- “One should not eat hot food in a hurry”
Me: That’s simple now. Analyse this one: “Where dishes break, the breaking of calabashes is of no consequence” (Urhobo)
Beans: Eh-heh, I get. “Opelenge fell against a dish but the dish did not break. She fell against a mortar and the mortar split”. Figure that one out.
Me: (shakes head). You’ve forgotten that I am the “system” and I know everything ko? It means some people overcome a major disaster, only to be overcome by a minor one. Ok o, I’m tired of this banter, as everyone else is right now.
Beans: (smiles sagely) “He who says ‘we don’t want any more food’ makes himself unpopular” A Yoruba proverb ‘your omniscience’ should have remembered. You should never presume to know other people’s minds. You should only speak for yourself.
Me: Toh. Whatever.
Beans: Yess! I win! The name’s Beans, people… James Beans (poses coolly… in my plate)

Ok, so onto Mabel Segun’s translation of a Yoruba praise song for beans. (Note: I am NOT apologizing for my extremely goofy post. Lol)

O Beans, protector of the soil
Who has spread your tentacles
Over the entire farm
Filling food that staves off hunger,
Whose customer develop
A craving for water
Assuming various forms-
You become *ekuru
Eaten with wraps of *eko;
Assuming various forms-
You become a stew, *gbegiri
Without which people
Simply toy with their bowls of *oka;
But when beans thrive,
They gorge themselves with oka
And burst the seams of their attire;
Not for nothing does tasty *akara-
Put on bold airs in the dish-
Whether it is *llarado,
Fried in medium oil,
Or *towobopo
Wallowing in deep oil,
More delightfully, O Beans,
You become transformed into that delicious food which goes by the name *oole.

Ekuru –steamed, seasoned bean paste eaten in crumbly form
Eko – cooked corn paste wrapped in leaves
Gbegiri – delicious bean stew
Oka – cooked yam flour
Akara – aka kosai (Hausa) or bean-cake; fried bean balls made from bean paste
Oole- short for olele, another name for moyinmoyin
Ilarado & towobopo she didn’t identify, sorry.

NOTE: All non-goofy info fapped from Mabel Segun’s book “Rhapsody: A Celebration of Nigerian Cooking and Food Culture”.
This post was inspired by Roc (in your recent comment) and NaijaGirl (you once said proverbs always make one wiser/authoritative). Thank you v. much!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Space In-Between

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.
An awareness of our freedom and power to choose is affirming because it can excite our sense of possibility and potential. It can also threaten, because now we are accountable.

Any time your emotional life is a function of someone else’s weakness, you disempower yourself.”
Stephen R. Covey, The Eighth Habit.

Makes serious sense, but I also understand that positive change takes some time.
PS: I haven’t been able to think of one solid thing to blog about; the days have been “somehow” (but at least I have now updated, lol).

Also, you might have heard about the danger of putting your car's air conditioner on before allowing fresh air in -it may cause miscarriages and cancer. So many things researchers are finding out these days. (My bro who has been complaining about his dry skin doesn't even want to use glycerin for fear of what future research might reveal :-)

Anyhow, happy weekend.
Huta lafiya! (Rest well!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Treat Me As I treat My Neighbor"

By Max Lucado

Hi! Before you read some Max Lucado, here’s a thankful post (I read Adaeze & Lolia’s thoughtful thankful posts and they reminded me of what someone once said: “When you hear the appreciative words God’s children say to Him, you fall in love with Him”).

I seriously appreciate:
1. Company, as in, people I’m comfortable with. Whenever I’m chanced to have meaningful conversation, discuss/listen to interesting issues, learn things, laugh etc I do it with passion.

2. Christ – the exciting possibilities we have because of what He did/is doing for us. For example, imagine the power God has given us against all evil, not because we’ve done (or have promised to do) anything holy, but because of Christ (Matthew 10; Titus 3:5).

3. ‘Comic Relief’- truly, a sense of humour is a blessing. A newspaper columnist admitted that he’s really tired of writing about the same problems our country is having, and has decided to cultivate his sense of humour to help him cope. Country aside, life can be horrible. But I have a question- it may have an obvious answer: Do you believe Nigeria can be transformed in our own generation?

4. Churches – When I was in university I stopped attending church for over 2 years. It was a double case of “too much Church, too little results” (in my life and in others’ lives- yes, I was very judgemental), and “too many Churches, orishirishi (different) doctrines”. It was an uncomfortable period for my roommates and I, and eventually they became very annoyed with me (you know how religious we can be) but in the end clarity came: with the Bible as a reference point* or ”anti-virus”(or anti-antiChrist), one can learn so much from different churches- from how to pray, to receiving God’s blessings. Now for closing hymn, let me sing “Years I Spent in Vanity and Pride” :- )

5. Creative, courageous people.

6. Cute actors like Freddie Prinze Jr, Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder, Wolverine, Just Friends), Denzel Washington… etc (ok I was watching a witty Prinze Jr. film -Jack & Jill vs The World - when I wrote that).

*See Galatians 3 & 4; 1Cor. 1. The early christians faced the same confusion many of us are facing, so it is a merely a case of DHCN - ‘Doctrine Has Changed Name’.

And now for some Max Lucado>>>

"Treat Me As I Treat My Neighbor."
Are you aware that this is what you are saying to your Father? Give me what I give them. Grant me the same peace I grant others. Let me enjoy the same tolerance I offer. God will treat you the way you treat others.

In any given Christian community there are two groups: those who are contagious in their joy and those who are cranky in their faith. They've accepted Christ and are seeking him, but their balloon has no helium. One is grateful, the other is grumpy. Both are saved. Both are heaven bound. But one sees the rainbow and the other sees the rain.

Could this principle explain the difference? Could it be that they are experiencing the same joy they have given their offenders? One says, "I forgive you," and feels forgiven. The other says, "I'm ticked off," and lives ticked off at the world.

It's as if God sends you to the market to purchase your neighbor's groceries saying, "Whatever you get your neighbor, get also for yourself. For whatever you give him is what you receive."
Let's take this a step further. Suppose your neighbor's trash blows into your yard. You mention the mess to him, and he says he'll get to it sometime next week. You inform him that you've got company coming and couldn't he get out of that chair and do some work? He tells you not to be so picky, that the garbage fertilizes your garden. You're just about to walk across the lawn to have a talk when God reminds you, "Time to go to the market and buy your neighbor's groceries." So you grumble and mumble your way to the store, and then it hits you, "I'll get even with the old bum." You go straight to the skim milk. Then you make a beeline to the anchovies and sardines. You march right past the double-chocolate ice cream and head toward the okra and rice. You make a final stop in the day-old bread section and pick up a crusty loaf with green spots on the edge.

Chuckling, you drive back to the house and drop the sack in the lap of your lazy, good-for-nothing neighbor. "Have a good dinner." And you walk away.
All your brilliant scheming left you hungry, so you go to your refrigerator to fix a sandwich, but guess what you find. Your pantry is full of what you gave your enemy. All you have to eat is exactly what you just bought. We get what we give.

Some of you have been eating sardines for a long time. Your diet ain't gonna change until you change. You look around at other Christians. They aren't as sour as you are. They're enjoying the delicacies of God, and you're stuck with okra and anchovies on moldy bread. You've always wondered why they look so happy and you feel so cranky. Maybe now you know. Could it be God is giving you exactly what you're giving someone else?
Max Lucado,
In the Eye of the Storm

Sorry, the post was long. Happy new month!