The other day on a hungry stomach, very disappointing thoughts toyed with my brain. I feel so used right now you have no idea. I cannot believe I have been bribed with food over and over again without the slightest hint of realization. Surely, how greedy can a girl be?
You see, I discovered that Wa Nyambura has been talking me into some very disturbing ideas over a plate. He has even settled major fights over impromptu lunch/dinner dates. Oh but before you judge me, have you yourself looked at really good food (the kind that makes your stomach start thanking you for your good intentions on it before you have even decided to eat) before you, in your most hungry state and decided your anger was greater than your hunger? If yes, you and I can never be friends. Well I have now perfected the art of postponing fights and major decision-making until after meals.
There is something about food… It embarrasses some people to publicly declare their love for it while others have absolutely no qualms about showing their undying food-love to the world, much to the chagrin of the pretend-food haters. Maybe there exist humans who actually hate food but these I am yet to meet a single one of the ilk. My community loves food. The success of an event will be judged by my people according to how much food was availed and how good it was.
At funerals for example cooking stones are sought the moment the first wails are heard. The bereaved have to feed the village and mourners for as long as the body is un-buried. That however will not be put into consideration when rating the funeral. The material day: the burial day is the real deal! Oh my people frown upon outside catering like nobody’s business. The cooking affair was usually a preserve of able-bodied women and a few men in the village and a few assistants of their choice. The whole buffet business offered by the said caterers makes them cry from deep within their stomachs. I know “in-laws “of my family who up to date cannot fathom why we made them queue for food at father’s funeral. Did we forget they were the brothers-in-law of my step-cousin’s sister in law’s aunt?
There are people who misunderstand the whole food love affair though. One day Wa Nyambura took me to a nice decent place. It was different. Do not get me wrong I love our local place, the waiters call me by my first name and I know the Head cook’s name, all three names and what his second wife calls him, for I use it when I want to appreciate his culinary skills. I knew it would be different because he had the cute face on and the lowest tone he could master as he sweetly asked me to please forget the jeans and put on my nice white dress like a nice lady. It was the way he said it that calmed my fight muscles back into my forehead. When he added they make really good food, his attempt to sin was forgotten. It was a very nice place indeed. There was a couple at the next table. Their love looked raw, recently sown. The lady was beautiful. I must have looked at her shoes with my heart because the next day Wa Nyambura brought me a similar pair. Oh I almost wished I could hear what they were saying.
Then I HEARD HER CHEW! JEEZ! I was in shock! My eyes literally fought to stick where the Creator took time to place them. I do not cheat on my food. I give it my full attention. I even forget everything going on around me. I concentrate on it. At times I can barely hear what the person at my table says. My siblings make fun of how I just nod and produce glottal sounds in reply. I barely hear, but I heard her chew. My partner motioned me to ignore and eat. I tried. It just did not stop. So I turned and looked, stared rather. Then my eyes met her loving partner’s. He pleaded for understanding, with his face. His face was saying “I know I know, and I am really sorry…I have tried, she was raised like that, I can’t help her…please forgive us, I love her…” Wa Nyambura was laughing his head off.
That is not how to love your food dear people who love to hear how the food is doing in the mouth. Relax. Have a little respect for it, please. Take it slow. Give it time. Chew it. Savor every bit. Swallow. You are allowed to close your eyes and feel it slide down your gullet if you want. It is your food. Do not attack it. An animal had to die. Someone stood the smoke and heat of the kitchen. They probably cut themselves and their precious blood is mingled there in somewhere within your food… I know.
Someday I will tell you about a guy I know who picked all the mandazis so that everyone after him in line missed. He sat at a corner and sipped his tea as if he knew nobody and when he chewed his load of mandazis one after the other a smile lingered upon his thick oily lips. At, lunch hour, nobody wanted to queue behind him. This helped him too. All the courteous food lovers who take just a little so everyone can serve first, then they can go for the second helping weren’t so lucky. He had a mountain on his plate when he was done serving. The annoying bit is he couldn’t eat quarter of it. He threw away the rest. That is not how to love your food… I will never understand ladies and on rare occasions men who play with food. I am the kind that will clear my plate and ask if you need help clearing yours depending on how you feed. You don’t pay for food then waste it. My grandma said food cries. When you throw away food it will cry out to God and hunger will be your portion one day, so much so you will remember the food you threw.I do not trust people who chose to eat alone. I will never understand people who can but won’t offer food to their guests or hungry children playing at their doorsteps. I love people who cook and cook well: you are my heroes! If you are inviting me and you really want me to be there, and there will be food, good food, always let it be known that ” THERE WILL BE GOOD FOOD”. It works, all the time!