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Live in Lagos – Can I help?

Help by force!

I arrived Lagos like an Israelite carrying the half-baked dough into a determined exodus. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, particularly how I will react to the weather, coming from extreme conditions like we saw this year in the Northeast US. Nothing really changed about the humid conditions, even at 8pm the wind was warm and slightly noxious. But hey! I am used to this, just have to acclimatize a bit. Err…I will dare not talk about Murtala Mohammed Airport, else it will be the rantings of a raving lunatic. Lekki Airport to the rescue!!!!!!!!!!

The road from the airport still is the famished road. It is fast becoming a bush path and reminds me of the road from Onitsha to Owerri in the late 1980s into early 1990s, It may soon need the kind of old Mercedes-Benz 9-11 trucks to ply it. It still amazes me that the government expects people to encounter that road first on a visit to the country through Lagos. Again it may be one of those roads that fall into the grey divide of Federal and State roads and no one is responsible for it. Very soon I will get dangerously upset to code red levels and will fix it. If the government refuses, private business making a fortune refuses, very rich men whole have stolen us blind also refuse to act socially responsible (at least to save face and the impending anger of the State), mere men like me will one day carry a digger and shovel to repair the road. At least beyond our children traveling safely, the police checkpoints will run smoothly and not be afraid to stop more vehicles and harass tired travelers. I have an idea, I will first start by asking my neighbour from Borno, who owns an active barn in his backyard (suitable to shoot a medieval movie), to lend me his cattle so they can graze the weeds shooting from the islands on the entire stretch of the airport road.
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Moin-Moin Babble

Last week my friend Chinwe decided she was going to make moin-moin and posted it on Facebook. This sparked a renewed longing to grind my kitchen and produce something of an American version, given the fact that I buy the local beans I find here. I haven’t worked at it yet, but this may well be the week I knock on my apron and get my wife laughing at my American moin-moin début. My Ijebu garri has been languishing and waiting for an appropriate companion for a while now 🙂

But this points me back to some thoughts of what made eating moin-moin exciting for me. As a child, my mum’s creation wrapped in nkong (what Efiks call the leaf used in wrapping the bean paste) was deservedly top-class. From the way she creatively separated the skin from the bean seeds using a mortar and pestle (although I soon became the point man for that part of the labour), to the blending with pepper and ground dried crayfish plus other ingredients to match, to the skilful apportioning of the paste into the leaves and finally to neatly wrapping the leaves, without a single drop of the paste leaking out, before placing into the pot. There was something near divine about the whole process and I usually observed it with strict attention.
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AN ODE TO ‘EWA AGOYIN’ AND ‘AGEGE BREAD’

Agege Buredi (Bread)

This is one of those days that my taste buds are on a full scale rebellion against my current state of affairs with regards to the nature of my meals. Somehow I had seamlessly graduated from the typical Lagos Island staple meals to a more gourmet kind of New Yorkish cuisines without any guilt of abandonment to those delicacies that strengthened my bones and made me more hopeful of a better life. Funny how we despise the things that we so cherish when we find something that outclasses them? Those days when I flip magazines that display foreign dishes, my tongue begs for an escape beyond the boundaries of the lips, just for a sneak peak at what the eyes are communicating to the sensory organs, creating a flood of saliva rushing over my wash-red flab.
I had thought to myself that I wasn’t the kind that could be affectionately attached to anything that would create a longing feeling in its absence. I could easily let go, especially in the light of something new and thrilling. I longed to dine in the Olive Gardens and the Chart Houses, while snacking on the revered New York Pizza, and relishing a hot cup of Starbucks Frappuccino; after the weird routine of inhaling the pleasant odor, perhaps to catch a feeling of the contents in their original state. Have I been disappointed thus far? I wouldn’t say so. I have my days when my bowels literally run ahead of me looking for something in the classic food network recommendations, and confessing the Burger Kings and allures of the Big Macs do place a spell which I so effectively dispel. But in all, there remains this inner feeling that I just ate something that just ain’t right.
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