Top 5 Offences Ever Committed Against Nigerian Food

When I first heard about agbalumo juice, my first thought was ‘How do you make juice out of agbalumo?’

For the uninitiated Agbalumo is also known as Udara, African Star Apple, or Alasa depending on where you call home

I’m a big fan of agbalumo though so it made sense to me. What’s the worst that could happen? You maybe end up with a sort of sweet and sour juice or smoothie? Anyway, it’s not the worst thing that has been done with or to Nigerian food. 

It did get me thinking though; what weird things are people doing with food in Nigeria that might actually not be that bad?

I once came across the Instagram page of a young woman who is dedicated to experimenting with Nigerian food and honestly, while some of the experiments are a little eyebrow-raising, I think that they’re mostly cool stuff I would not mind trying. 

For example, her zobo experiments; she basically infuses zobo (hibiscus) leaves into things like ogi, garri, cake, milkshakes. She’s also experimented with agbalumo, infusing it into shakes and chocolate, making it into juice and other fun stuff.

Hans and Rene also have an Agbalumo sorbet and it’s something I would not mind having for lunch, breakfast, and dinner because I’m obsessed with agbalumo okay?

While food experiments can be fun and yield interesting results,  that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about all the disrespectful things that have been done to and with Nigerian food and all I have to say is WHY? WHY? 

I have seen and heard some truly terrible things in this world like people eating bread with okro or rice with ewedu but these are some of the worst offences committed against Nigerian food. 

There are some food fads that I find mildly amusing like Dooney’s Kitchen Orange Eba and the ‘EBBAGE’ experiments she did back in 2015. Basically, it was about mixing vegetables in garri to make a healthier version of Eba. The orange eba was achieved by making it with yellow garri in hot water already containing red scotch bonnet.

It was cute, but not something I would particularly like to try.

And then there was the “Yam flour roulette”, which was literally Amala made into a roll. 

Okay I lied, that was annoying as well, because what is this obsession with gentrifying Nigerian foods? You hear things like: bean fritters which is supposed to be an English name for Akara. I mean, it’s different when a Nigerian staple actually has a name in English: for example, Kilishi. Kilishi is literally beef jerky, no problems there. I’ll still call it kilishi though.

It annoys me when people look for English names that don’t accurately describe Nigerian foods or capture the very essence of their glory. But this doesn’t even compare to the one I came across recently.

It has to be (admittedly an April fool’s joke) the Jollof doughnut by Krispy Kreme Nigeria. I felt all our ancestors shaking with fury at the travesty. 

Another example was the horrifying gentrification of dodo; basically, fried PLANTAIN was served on the same plate as raspberries and blueberries; like, it was being served with the fruit. The absolute horror. 

We all love puff- puff right? RIGHT? It’s pretty much a staple in any self-respecting plate of small chops and people have even tried adding ata rodo (scotch bonnet) to the batter (it works for me, I’m Yoruba). What we will not accept, however, is ‘puff-puff that went abroad’. This pastry store on twitter tried it when they served up puff-puff drizzled with chocolates along with giant pieces of Oreo cookies on it. I personally am a big fan of chocolates, so that part, I didn't mind but why Oreos? WHY? It would have been forgivable if the cookies had been crumbled into some type of cookie dust over the puff-puff because those huge pieces were not working. Please, dear, we want the puff-puff that studied in Mushin, thanks.

Remember Jamie Oliver’s Jollof recipe that sparked the hilarious #Jollofgate hashtag on Twitter in 2014? No? Okay, let me refresh your memory. In October 2014, the English chef posted his recipe of ‘Nigerian Jollof’ on the internet and West African twitter went ape on him. I completely understand why. The recipe included  lemon wedges and baking the rice and let’s just say: ovens and lemons have no place in the making of jollof rice. That reminds me of another Jollof rice recipe I came across recently that made me wonder why these people are so obssesed with baking rice. They called this one ‘Joll Off Rice’ which in their defense, is not the same thing as Jollof rice.

I think these people just need to leave Jollof rice alone and stop trying to gentrify our foods. What food experiments have you come across that you found interesting