Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

With all of your posts of good-looking food, Diana, you're making me look bad!  And I feel that I need to make a confession.*

I don’t cook most of my own food here in Nigeria.

There, I said it.  Also, I hate being hungry.  I mean, really hate it – being hungry and car crashes are the two things I fear most in life (and being in really deep water and imagining giant whales and other creatures swimming around below me).  At home, I typically manage my hunger through prodigious snacking until James gets back from work and I can ask him what we’re eating for dinner.  But here I have Abigail.  Dear, wonderful Abigail, who comes every morning to make sure that I haven’t accidentally burned the house down and every night to cook dinner for me.  This way, I don't have to negotiate the vastly different world of Nigerian food alone . . . and I don't go hungry!  Fears allayed.  

Here we are discussing the length of church services in Nigeria and the fact that I usually need a snack in the middle of one if I'm going to make it to the end.  We are standing in front of her house; my house is off in the distance behind us.  So, as you can see, Abigail is a neighbor and now – a friend.  Not only does she cook my dinners, she also lets me follow her to the market every week, where I’m sure that I make negotiating good prices more difficult with all of my questions and taking-of-pictures.  She is even teaching me how to cook all of my favorite Nigerian dishes.  I’ve promised her that I’m going to cook a Nigerian meal for her entire family before I leave . . . but as she doesn’t trust me alone in the kitchen, I’m pretty sure that she’s put in a prayer request that I’ll forget to do it.

While I spend my days reading about early 20th-century Yoruba libraries, my evenings are spent in the kitchen with Abigail.  In the picture above, she is laughing at me and my ever-present camera.  (And in case you're wondering, we're preparing greens for soup.)  So you’ll hear plenty about Abigail and her family on this blog, as they are an important part of my life in Nigeria.  After all, if not for her, I would be subsisting on peanuts and bananas.  But when I get home, I’ll be steaming piles of moin-moin and pounding yam.  Get ready to eat, everyone!

*Diana, you're from the Midwest - you know how we tend to feel guilty and confess a great deal.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Crossing over the confessional divide, Regan? I thought only Catholics could feel such extreme guilt. Maybe it's just an American thing, though. It's like people I know, who have someone come in to clean their house. The night before the housekeeper arrives, they're hurriedly running around picking up and cleaning, you know, so the house cleaner won't know.
    Good for you for just coming out and saying that you don't cook. Now I will judge you mercilessly and make disparaging remarks about your failure as a woman.