Vital little details; my sad pursuit of the perfect meal
I woke up quite early this Saturday morning feeling rather grumpy after spending most part of the night dreaming about food-Jollof rice to be specific. I had attended my best friend sister’s wedding engagement party the day before and I was too busy with helping around that I forgot to preserve the portion of the jollof rice that I would take home at the end of the day.
Now I blame myself, how could I have been so preoccupied that I forgot about what would have been the reward of my loyalty and hard work? It would have been the highlight of my day after all my running around, helping the caterers arrange the wood for cooking, then anticipating patiently as they cooked and salivating as the fantastic aroma of good food wafted through my nostrils
To hit the nail on the head, the jollof rice finished even before I had the opportunity to have a taste. How on earth could jollof rice finish at a party though? Just so unimaginable and vexing. I had to make do with amala and ewedu and my friend compensated me with plenty of drinks and meat to take home but those were not even potent enough to give the kind of satiation and joy that well made Nigerian jollof brings.
I guess now you can understand why I dreamt of jollof rice for a better part of the night. As I sat up straight in bed, still regretting the day before’s misfortune, I got a brilliant idea. I could make my own party jollof that would even taste better than the one I didn’t get to taste talk less of eat, the day before. I have heard in the past that what makes party jollof taste so great is that fact that it is cooked in large quality, with firewood and because a sizeable amount gets burnt in the process of cooking. Although, I did not quite understand the art, science or logic behind this, I felt it strongly within me that it had to actually be the secret to having that peculiar taste common with Nigeria party jollof because, trust me, I have tried every other thing I have read online but still haven’t been able to get the result I wanted.So, I decided to surprise the whole family of 10 ( including extended family members) but especially my mom. Maybe, if I at least start making breakfast before she wakes up, she would be quite happy with me today because I’m becoming increasingly tired of her daily rants on how I’am not working towards being a good wife and mother.
I set out to work using logs of wood that have been laying around the house for a long time now. Entering the store, I picked everything I would need and started out to make the most delicious jollof rice to be cooked in the house yet. I performed this sacred ritual carefully following the step by step process as I saw the caterers do the day before. Truth be told, I didn’t find cooking the jollof rice funny in whatever way, it turned out to be more stressful than I had envisaged, but I endured, ‘for the joy that lay ahead’. I was determined to get the award for the one who cracked the code to the magical Nigeria Jollof taste, at least in my house. I followed the procedure as I watched the day before and while I was half way through, I could already hear the movement of life around the house. My mum came around and even though I am sure what I read on her face was not displeasure, it wasn’t pleasure either. Wait until you have a taste I said within myself,smiling. less than an hour later, my copy of the Nigeria party jollof was staring right at me in all its glory and splendour.
I felt…proud was an understatement because the picture I had in front of me was looking like a tantalizing jollof rice picture I had once found while surfing the net. Satisfied with myself, I couldn’t wait to taste it. Fetching a plate, I served a tasting size on it and took a spoon, but what I tasted felt kind of wrong, what is going on here? It was then the realisation hit me!I forgot to add vegetable oil!
OMG, I’m done cooking, what am I going to do now? Should I mix the vegetable oil now or what? Then all of a sudden, I felt the earth move beneath my feet, my legs suddenly could no longer carry my weight. I lowered myself to the ground and just sat there staring at the pot of rice soliloquizing on how I could have been patient for a few more days to eat party jollof at my grandpas birthday…
Now I have been in bed the whole day. Not having that peaceful rest that follows a fulfilling outcome but rolling from one end of the bed to the other from eating rice to a stupor; the rice that everyone eventually said was sticky and smelling like totally burnt food, the rice that no one wanted more than a tiny portion from, the rice that my sweet mother packed the remnant in the refrigerator for me to consume later. What a terrible ending to a bad beginning. I am just too sad to cry, will simply lay here finding comfort in self pity…
P.S: Nigeria jollof is not your mate. You simply can’t beat that taste!