I love chapati and yellow-green beans. I know this is an odd way to begin a post, but if there is one thing I have learned over the years is that the best of words can actually come tumbling out. Like that first statement. However, this season, brings many memories of how chapati marked our childhood.
I grew up in a family where Christian values were encouraged. This means that another meal was also hallowed- fish! Yes, fish was the dish that made an appearance at the table when we had either a fellowship or a visit from a senior member of the church.
Both fish and chapati were hallowed dishes because they were one, expensive and two, involved a tedious process of preparation. I never had time to scale fish and hated when those scales clung onto you making you stink all through the night. But, I thought about chapati- because over the years, it is the only dish that I can prepare at whim.
Yes, as long as there’s some baking flour and yellow cooking fat, I’m good to go. This thought, like a sprinkle of joy, hit me today as I was watching this Nigerian film and two siblings were fighting over a bowl of soup.
For us, eating chapati during Christmas meant that we could indulge in a very delicious treat and if you celebrated Christmas without eating chapati then you definitely qualified for 20/20 in the next year’s composition “The holiday I will never forget.”
What’s odd is that back then beef was readily available, but now it seems that the tables have turned and beef is rather expensive. A quarter kilo of beef now is enough to get me a kilogram of baking flour and what my friend calls ‘mafuta robo,’ enough to cook more than ten chapatis.
Since I mentioned fish as another hallowed dish, I’ll also add, that we always believed that Pilau was reserved for weddings. If you attended a wedding, the first thing your friends would ask “ulikula pilau?” If you said yes, then the next thing would be “na cake?” I once asked my Mom why we valued certain dishes and set them aside for certain events over others and she shrugged her shoulders and said “I don’t know, what do you think?”
I think it’s interesting that we grew up believing that certain dishes were meant for certain seasons and now…now, what do we do during Christmas? What do we eat?
Happy holidays wherever you are. May you be love, show love, give love, receive love and if not…a measure of grace be a sprinkled upon you.