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!