The table is set. White linen spread across a wooden surface, cutlery placed on both sides, a linen napkin on my lap and a glass of cold water on my right. In the middle, is a beautiful white plate filled with something I’ve never eaten before but I’m keen to try. The hue of colors plus the rich smell of spices sends a voice note to my brain. I’m already drooling in my mind before taking the first bite.
As I look at the food before me, I see skill and applaudable craftsmanship that will be devoured in minutes. Then I began to wonder how did I get here? Where did this desire to explore come from?
A little more time is spent looking. I’m lost in thoughts doing what I was taught never to do; stare. Looking up, I meet the waiter’s gaze with a puzzled look on his face. He looks worried and unsettled in a composed way. I smile briefly to reassure him nothing is wrong, then take my first bite of what was so perfect.
At that moment, I realized the many choices that lead me to this point. From being weaned as a baby, to food I call memoirs of my childhood, to my favorites of all time and beyond. It rubs you a different way when you realize your choices and taste in food have been molded over time. What we know to taste good began as far back as the food choices our parents made and our cultures dictated.
Take for instance the meals whilst growing up. I learnt from a very young age that rice should never be eaten alone. Plantain goes with rice. Honestly, I can’t eat rice without plantain or moi moi no matter how little. I was forced to eat beans as a child and I hated it. But I’ve recently began to eat beans more often and enjoy every mouthful.
The more I thought about how I got here, the more I have come to understand my love for food came from my Dad. It was Eko hotel pool side restaurant, Lagoon restaurant, some Chinese restaurant I can’t remember the name of and Sheraton Hotel Ikeja in its glory days back in the day. My favorite drink was Chapman and I almost always ordered a burger and chips. Such a juicy treat.
The end of my walk down memory lane is greeted by my last bite. Delicious, flavorful and memorable. Come with me on this journey to make new memories with my fork, spoon and knife.