To smell or not to smell

A man wth a pegged nose

 

 

Disclaimer

This is  not a slight on anyone who has a medical condition that causes any part of their bodies to give off offensive odour. l  love you and  pray you get all the help you need to bring an end to your discomfort. This is for those who are too lazy to cleanup or who believe that poor hygiene is excusable.

Some of the things you’re about to read might be offensive to some of your senses but bare in mind that it’s all for a good cause.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get talking.

Clip art of two ladies talking over coffee

 

On a scale of 1(one) to 10(ten) of personal hygiene, 10 being the highest, anyone who falls below 6(six) in my opinion, has poor personal hygiene or as my Nigerian people will say, “you too dirty.” (it sounds better in pidgin English)

A stinky Superman

Now l’m going to explain both the Physical and Spiritual aspect of poor personal hygiene. You might be wondering what connection poor hygiene has to your spiritual life. Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.

Like I’ve mentioned before,  l’m a Christian. l get all my inspiration from the word of God. The word of God is my life manual. There is no issue on this earth that doesn’t  have a solution in the word of God.

That been said, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why being dirty is a nuisance.

It is my body and I’ll stink if l want to

I’ve always wondered why some people think that it’s okay to have poor personal hygiene or simply put, to be dirty.  If a dirty person doesn’t have to interact with the rest of the world, then that will be perfect because they alone will have to deal with their filth. But since human beings are social creatures, the innocent have to suffer.

A man wth sweat staned arm pts

Spiritual angle

The bible says “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Simply put, do unto others as you would have them do to you. So if we know that someone’s mouth  or body odour will offend us, we have to maintain good hygiene so that we don’t offend others.

On the other hand, if you happen to be one of those people who thinks “oh please, l don’t care. It’s my body and I’ll smell if I want to”,

A man wth body odour

 

you’re right. It’s your body but you don’t have the right to make other people feel uncomfortable with your smell. Everyone has a right to breath clean, fresh air. You infringe on other peoples rights to breath when your smell invades the air around them and that’s wrong. When you get to your house, you can smell all you want. Also, don’t feel bad when people have to stand at least 4(four) feet away from you when you speak or when there are at least 3(three) empty seats between you and your neighbour at any public function.

 

People runnng away from a man wth bad breath

 

An unforgettable encounter

l once had a terrible mouth odour encounter n 2010. l  can still remember the year it happened, so you can imagine how bad it was.

Back then, l used to be a bit shy. So much so that if my hairdresser gives me a bad hairdo, l  just shut up, smile and pay her. Then go home to complain. So even if someone made me feel uncomfortable, l  just suffered in silence.

On this faithful day, l  was off to somewhere so l  took a cab. It wasn’t an Uber arrangement or “a drop” as it’s popularly called in Nigeria, but a general cab where it’s the driver, four strangers and you.

An overcrowded taxi

Okay it was nothing like this but I’m sure you understand what I   mean by a “general cab.”

Not all that glitters is gold

So l sat behind but between two people. The man sitting to my right was well dressed in a caftan, and he looked like he was on his way to an occasion. He didn’t smell bad either. l could tell from the fragrance of his cologne that it wasn’t expensive but l appreciated the effort he put into his looks and smell. Then his phone rang and he took the call. That was when the battle began!

The odour that hit my nostrils was like a punch. It covered my head like a hood.

A man wth badbreath

 

l told myself that l could take it, besides there was no way he was going to be on the phone till we arrived at our destination. l was wrong!

Crisis Averted

This man kept talking loudly, and as the tempo of his voice increased, so did the odour. l knew in my heart that this smell was as a result of not brushing the surface of his tongue properly for days. l wasn’t brave enough to bear the smell any longer. l had to cry out.

l knew that speaking would be a risk because the second l open my mouth, some of that thick smell will rush in and l might swallow it. l  had to take the risk because it was either that or l pass out from holding my breath too long. So l raised my voice. l didn’t mean to but l  did. l  shouted “oga (sir) please stop talking na.”

The man looked at me in shock. l  thought he was going to slap me or say something awful to me, or worse still, ignore me and continue with his phone conversation. Surprisingly, he ended his call and there was peace in the land.

That’s not the proper way to handle such situations but it worked that one time. Besides, l  was overwhelmed.

Cleanliness is next to godliness

I’ve had so many other encounters after that one. A lot of them, unfortunately were in church. l  say unfortunately because the church is the one place you just one to focus and the last thing you need is a distraction in form of body or mouth odour.

l don’t believe anyone has an excuse for bad odour but this most definitely shouldn’t be found among Christian folk. Why? because the bible should be the standard by which we live our lives. Every part of the bible, no cherry picking.

God clearly says in His word that cleanliness is next to godliness. A lot of Christian folk who believe that God is only concerned with our spiritual well being, interpret this scripture to mean that “spiritual” cleanliness is next to godliness. But that’s not what it means. It addresses both spiritual and physical cleanliness.

It’s deeper than we think

There are a few reasons why people let themselves go and fall into the abyss of poor hygiene. It could be as a result of laziness, because let’s face it, it’s easier to be sloppy than to clean up after yourself.  It could also be because we under value what we have, so we don’t make the effort to take care of it and keep it clean. There are other reasons but l  believe  that these two, Laziness and Ingratitude, are the major reasons.

My dear Christian brothers and sisters, do you know that laziness is a sin? If you don’t then you either do not study your bible or you haven’t been paying attention. Which means you don’t know much about God because if you do, you’ll know that He doesn’t tolerate laziness in any form. Laziness in the bible, is also referred to as slothfulness, derived from the word “Sloth”, which happens to be the name of an animal who’s natural state of being, is lazy.

A sloth

 

Ungrateful much?

Do you also know that ingratitude is a sin? How? Let me break it down for you. When you do not have value for the things you have, you take them for granted. You don’t take care of them because you either believe that if it goes bad you’ll just get another one or you feel that what you have isn’t good enough, so it doesn’t mean much to you. What better way to express your ingratitude to God than to under value what He has provided for you.

You see, we focus on the more obvious sins that are clearly stated in the bible; adultery, fornication, stealing, idolatry e.t.c What we forget is that these “obvious” sins are also a backdrop for the “less obvious” ones. Most importantly, there are no big or small sins. Sin is sin.

Ingratitude and Poor hygiene

When you can’t be bothered to take a proper bath, clean your home, keep your mouth clean and fresh, or appear neat in public, you’re indirectly telling God that you couldn’t care less about the fact that He has provided a roof over your head, clothes on your back, or a healthy body.

There are thousands of people who are homeless and don’t have a family member or a friend to squat with. So they leave out in the open and take shelter under bridges and store fronts but they’re still exposed to the elements. Some of them have the same level of education or even higher level of education than you and I . So their present living situation isn’t a reflection on their intellect.

It’s all about your Perspective

You and l  have been blessed with a roof over our heads, whether large or as tiny as a cubicle, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have shelter. The least we can do to express our gratitude is take good care of it and keep it clean. When we take good care of the things God has blessed us with, whether it’s our bodies, homes or cars, we show God that we do not take Him and His blessings for granted.

I’ve listened to people complain that they don’t have enough and even what they have isn’t working right. 70% of their conversations are complaints. Meanwhile, you can’t even find a place to stand in their homes because everywhere is littered with filth. For people who complain about not having enough, they sure seem to have a lot of waste littered around. I  wonder where the waste comes from since they don’t have enough.

A filthy room

The law of seed time and harvest

You might think “it’s not doing anyone harm. It’s my filth after all” but you’re harming yourself. Apart from the fact that poor hygiene is very harmful to your health because it creates the perfect living environment for harmful bacteria and disease pathogens. Have you ever heard the saying “whatever you sow, you will reap”? or “seed time and harvest shall not pass away”?

Well they’re not ordinary sayings. They are all in the bible. The Hindu call it Karma. It also happens to be one of the 3 laws of Newton; “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Can you see why I love the word of God? It is the foundation for everything you’ve seen, you’re seeing, and you will see in life.

My point is, poor hygiene, whether as a result of laziness or ingratitude, has a harvest. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from farming, it is  that the harvest is usually greater than the seed. In life, the harvest shows up where and when you least expect. Be careful what you sow.

l have a lot more to say on this topic but l’ll continue next week. So till then, stay clean and God bless you.

Who runs the world?

selfie

 

 

 

Who really runs the world?

I know Beyonce sang that girls run the world but since she isn’t the official authority on World Running Affairs, please indulge me for a few minutes while I share my thoughts with you.

Today, I want to talk about a certain feminist mindset or School of thought if you may, that have taken the quote “what a man can do, a woman can do better and in heels”, to an extreme.

A strong black lady

In my last post You’re Single. So what?  , I briefly brushed through this topic hoping to get into details on a later date. So here I am with the details.

First things first

Firstly, I want to start by saying that I am a Christian. Not by religion but a born again Child of God. The word of God is my only truth. So as I share my thoughts with you, expect to see some references from the bible, which I believe if anyone adheres to, always yields positive results. Always!

That been said, let’s get back to this school of thought which in some ways I believe is erroneous.

I used to be a firm believer in the “what a man can do, a woman can do better” quote, especially when I was an up and coming feminist; more power to women and all that stuff.

bejeweled hand making a fist

Also, the aforementioned quote sounded like a really good comeback for “It’s a man’s world” quote. I could sit and argue for hours about why I felt this isn’t a man’s world and why I thought women were superior to men. Well a lot has changed since then.

I’ve grown, I’ve studied books, especially my bible and I’ve come to realize the reason why this age long argument about who runs the world, has now turned into a movement.

Difference = Strength

The reason is because men and women do not realize the beauty and power in their individual uniqueness. Each gender has strengths and weaknesses. No one’s strengths outweighs the other’s. It’s like the head looking down on the heart because it doesn’t house the brain or the heart looking down on the brain because it doesn’t pump blood.

A brain and a heart having an argument

 

They are both unique in their structure and functions and they both compliment each other. The brain doesn’t need the heart less than the heart needs it and vice versa.

If both genders can just learn to stay in their lanes, love and appreciate their lanes, then a lot of things won’t be happening in the world as regards gender inequality. For instance, a woman who works as hard as her male colleague in the work place, will earn the same as he does.

And then comes the Feminist extremists

I love my fellow women but there are some sisters who take things too far. Sometimes I just feel like telling them to calm down, it’s not that serious. Being a feminist is okay within certain parameters but when it gets to the extreme, it just gets ugly. The disdain for men just makes these extremists mean spirited.

a mean fat lady

Some even go as far as wanting absolutely nothing to do with men, including not having children with a man. Who needs men afterall when there’s artificial insemination right? But it makes me wonder, if they despise men so much but still want to have babies, where do these feminist extremists think the donor sperm in the sperm bank come from?

President Goodluck Jonathan lost in thougth

 

Some even go as far as saying that God is a woman and I’m like, huh??? I’m not even going to get into that because somethings aren’t worth discussing.

I support the ideology behind women supporting each other but women coming together to form a movement that has no regard for the place of a man in this world. That I do not support.

Then there’s the male chauvinists

I appreciate and respect the role men play in the world and in the home. The innate ability to think logically in addition to other abilities is a huge positive. What I do not support nor care for are men who use these God given abilities as an excuse to be domineering. Who have no regards for women because they believe that women are the “weaker sex”. They love to use 1Peter 3:7 where men are admonished to treat their wives AS UNTO  the “weaker vessel”, as an excuse to act silly and petty. God didn’t call the woman the weaker vessel. If He did He would be contradicting Himself. Most men, on the other hand see women as weaker vessels.

A proud man

Sometimes when I’m driving, and I pack in a spot or back out of a space that would be otherwise challenging for some motorists, I hear some ignorant men make side comments like “na woman dey drive o” because they’re shocked that a woman can be a good driver.

Yes I know that a lot of women in my city are terrible at driving so I can understand their shock but that’s not an excuse to be ignorant.

Another example is on Facebook. My profile picture is one my husband and myself but we were both backing the camera. Sometimes when people post interesting stuff and the comments start coming in, I like to chip in my 2 cents and once in a while most people like my contribution. Now the issue isn’t the fact that they liked what I said, it’s the replies I get. Replies like “good point Sir”, “I agree with you my brother”, and so on. So they like my contribution, probably checkout my profile photo, see a man and a woman and immediately the chauvinist part of their brains takeover, so they assume that it has to be the guy in the photo making all this sense  because only men can make logical sense or discuss politics from an interesting and intelligent perspective right? WRONG!

What’s the real deal behind the term “weaker vessel”? 

This is the reason why it is important to carefully reason through scripture. Not with your human intellect though because that profits nothing when it comes to spiritual things. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives understanding of scripture.

Also it is important to study other translations to help you better interpret the original text.

When God told men to treat their wives AS UNTO the weaker vessel, He didn’t mean our modern day literal interpretation of weak. Like women are too weak to do anything for themselves and they need a man to serve as a support beam. Or when a woman is faced with a challenge, she’ll just break in pieces.

Shattered glass in the shape of a woman's body

That’s not what God meant by weaker vessel.

Delicate but Strong

God meant that women are physically delicate. A woman’s body was created delicate compared to a man’s body. Women were made this way for good reason. A woman’s bones are less dense compared to a man’s bones.

If women didn’t have delicate features, firstly men wouldn’t be attracted to us.

tom singing to a lady cat

Having delicate features has absolutely nothing to do with weakness in the literal sense. Something can be delicate yet unbreakable. The things a woman’s body goes through in her life time, will completely destroy any man because men, though posses harder features, weren’t created for such challenges.

Also being treated AS UNTO the weaker vessel has nothing to do with being intellectually or spiritually weak. That has to do with the individual. All through my school days, girls were always the smartest in class.

Weaker vessel ain’t looking so weak right now

I’ve got some more facts to prove to you that God gave women more strength than they are given credit for.

Infant girls learn faster than infant boys. Girls mature faster than boys. A woman can play the role of a mother and a father simultaneously in her children’s lives. That’s why medical science consider children who have lost their mother, as orphans even if they still have their father. Women are great at multitasking.

a woman multitasking

 

Research has proved that children get over 60% of their intellect from their mothers.

I can go on and on to show you that a woman’s delicate features do not make her a weak person. That’s why the bible says “weak VESSEL” as in CONTAINER, and not “weak person”. Like I said earlier ‘weak’ in that context means delicate.

Take a look at Proverbs 31:10 to the end and see the attributes of God’s ideal woman, a virtuous woman. That sounds nothing like a weak person.

The ones who love to be weak

The unfortunate thing is that men are not the only ones guilty of misunderstanding the term “weak vessel”. A lot of women have also misunderstood this term and their reaction is either on one extreme or the other.

The first extreme perceive it to be an insult, so everything they do is built around proving to themselves and the world, who couldn’t care less by the way, that they aren’t weak. This is one of the driving forces behind extreme feminist movements.

two strong ladies

The second group of women who go to the other extreme, have taken the word “weak” literally and wear it as a badge of honour. They have no desire to be outstanding in anything and are content with mediocrity. Total lack of ambition.

a lazy fat lady

 

They see the state of being a wife and bearing children as an achievement. The truth is it isn’t. This is not a slight on stay at home mothers because raising good kids is actually an achievement and you deserve to be honoured. But getting married and just giving birth to children, aren’t achievements. If they were, in Proverbs 31, God would’ve simply said “the virtuous woman is wife to one husband and has her nest full of children.” The end.

In conclusion…

The point of all I’ve said is, we have created a society where men are constantly trying to put women down and women are going to extremes to prove their worth and to prove that men aren’t worth much.

True strength lies in recognizing our individual uniqueness and knowing how they compliment each other.

Men weren’t created to dominate women. Infact people weren’t created to dominate people, It’s quite clear in Genesis 1:26.

Till next week. That’s all folks. God bless you

 

You’re Single. So what?

selfie

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk

If you’re not Nigerian or African, this might not be an issue for you, especially if you live in a more liberal society. On the other hand, if you’re Nigerian and you’re a single guy/lady, pull your chair closer. I want to talk with you

Two ladies sitting and having a conversation

 

SINGLENESS OR BEING SINGLE IS NOT A DISEASE THAT NEEDS TO BE CURED

Lisa Simpson yelling

 

Oops, I’m Sorry. Did I yell that? Probably because I’ve said it so many times and no one seems to be listening.

I live in a society (Nigeria my beloved country), where being single is treated like a stigma. There was a time when parents, uncles, aunties, and friends didn’t mention anything about marriage until the lady is at least 30 years old. For guys it was around 33 and upwards. As time passed, seasons changed, the age for giving or getting the “so you’re still single” stink eye reduced
A group of elderly African women

 

For ladies it came down to 28, 26. Now nobody cares about your age anymore. So long as you have graduated from University, you should be married. Infact you should have an engagement ring on your finger, your certificate in one hand, and your graduation cap and gown on. Guys are also victims of this ignorant cultural mindset but ladies have it worse.

This has led to a generation of young ladies who are constantly under pressure, whether self inflicted or family and friends inflicted. This pressure makes them use up 75% of their creative juices on finding a husband. Some even use as much as 99.5% of their creative juices on this task, the remaining 0.5% is used for eating and breathing.

The worse part is, this desperate manhunt has also led to a generation of arrogant young men, who believe that marrying a lady is an act of benevolence on their part. So they expect the poor ladies to build altars in their honour and whenever they misbehave in the marriage, the ladies should take it without complaining because they pulled them out of the pit called SINGLENESS wherein is no water. Absolute nonsense!

A caveman pulling a lady by her hair

 

The Tough Lady Generation

There’s yet another generation of ladies, who in a bid to push back at the ignorant cultural mindset that sees singleness as a stigma, they have gone to the other extreme. They live by the code “what a man can do, a woman can do better and in heels too” and if you tell them otherwise, they might bite you.

Also, they believe that the world will be a better place without men, Afterall why do they need men? They can have babies without men, they can build roads, build houses, infact they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them (so long as Christ is not a man)

A very muscular lady

 

I don’t subscribe to this school of thought and for very good reasons but that’s a topic for another day.

The purpose of Singleness

Let me tell you what being single means from my understanding. It is a phase of life!

It is not a disease, it is not a pit, it is simply a phase of life.

Life is in phases. When you were born, that was one phase. When you were weaned off breast feeding, that was another phase. Starting school was yet another phase. The thing with life’s phases is, if you take your current phase for granted or fail to take full advantage of it, you are bound to make a mess of the next phase. Every phase you find yourself is a launch pad for the next.

Marriage is a phase of life that only ends in death. That’s the way God meant it to end when He created the institution. Phases come and they pass, but you might wonder how come marriage is a phase but it doesn’t pass as is typical of phases. Well that’s because every other phase in life takes place within the institution of marriage. There are phases in your life that God has orchestrated in a way that will turn out great when you embark on them with a spouse.

I say all this to ask, since you feel that you’re tired of being single and you’re ready to take the next step. Do you believe that you are prepared to go through the other phases of life with a partner? You know it’s one thing when you make all the decisions. You bare all the consequences alone whether good or bad. When someone else is involved, it’s a different ball game. I’m not saying this to scare you rather I say this to prepare you. Afterall you take quality time to prepare for exams that affect  your career. Why do you think that when it comes to something as important as marriage, that can alter your life for good or bad, it’s okay to learn on the job?

Your Single phase is your opportunity to prepare. Marriage is a phase that wouldn’t end till death at a ripe old age (that’s what we pray for.) I’m not saying that preparation for marriage is the sole purpose of your single phase but that’s the subject of this post so keep reading.

an elderly couple hugging

 

Doting the I’s and crossing the T’s

The fact that you’re a good cook doesn’t automatically make you a good husband/wife. You can cook up a storm in the kitchen and still be as dumb as a door nail when it comes to other aspects of marriage.

The fact that you have a pretty face and a gorgeous figure to go with it, doesn’t mean you know how to be a good friend talk more of a good spouse. Beauty fades very quickly when other important aspects are missing.

Let’s say you’ve checked all the boxes on your list. You feel you’re so ready to get into the next phase called marriage. There is one box which happens to be the most important but still the most ignored. Probably because people believe it’s too much work. What am I talking about? I’m talking about your spiritual life. Your relationship with God. I don’t mean the dead relationship people claim to have with Jesus because they go to church every Sunday like they’re going to answer roll call. I mean a working, living relationship with Jesus. Like the type you have with someone you love, except deeper.

Do you know why I call this the most important box? because without it, you will be building your next phase on thin ice. A solid marriage can only be built on the one who created the institution in the first place, God!

So if you’re so done with being single, do you know how to cover your family Spiritually? This is especially important for you single men. You say you are ready to be the head of a home. You know being the head goes beyond being the breadwinner or getting the biggest portion of meat in the pot. The head is the leader, so if anything goes wrong in your home both spiritually and otherwise, guess who God’s gonna hold responsibleA finger pointing

 

Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself

So before you put yourself under unnecessary pressure to get married. Before you start letting society dictate what happens in your life. Before the side glances of parents and other relations and friends get to you, read through this post and honestly ask yourself, “am I ready to get married?”

Don’t let anyone get into your head with the “are you not old enough to get married” talk. You’re only old enough to get married when you can be honest with yourself and you have checked all the IMPORTANT boxes. How long that takes, well that’s entirely up to you my dear.

Enjoy every bit of your single life because you can only be single once. Marriage is a beautiful thing, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but it’s only beautiful when it’s done right.

Till next week, Stay blessed!!

 

 

 

Crayfish; The best Organic Food Seasoning from the Sea

Crayfish; the Best Organic Food Seasoning from the Sea

Crayfish; the Best organic Food Seasoning from the Sea

 

Crayfish, also known as Crawfish in some parts of the world, but a much smaller specie of crawfish, could easily be mistaken for one of those ingredients that don’t add much to a dish. Firstly, they’re really small, so they’re hardly anyone’s choice of protein, because come on, who wants these guys lying around in their plates, when there’s Lobster, Pork chops, or a nice juicy steak? So let’s just say they don’t fit into that league. So crayfish had to carve out a niche for itself. Now no other food can do what it does, at least not when it comes to Nigerian cuisine.

Somehow, sometime, for some reason, in Nigeria, our fore fathers or mothers; since men didn’t as much as know the location of the kitchen in those days, because at the time in Africa, they believed the kitchen was a woman’s place. Anyway, our “fore mothers”, discovered how to enhance the flavours of our local cuisine by adding dried ground crayfish to their foods. Ever since, there’s hardly any local Nigerian cuisine that doesn’t have crayfish in it. Now we have ovens which makes drying crayfish less cumbersome, but who wants to do all that when they’re all over the market. Although, if you’re a D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) kinda person, then here’s a link to how you can dry your crayfish at home http://www.allnigerianrecipes.com/food-ingredients/crayfish.html

I remember when I was in boarding school. The dinning hall food was mostly terrible. So when we went home for the holidays, we’ll grind some crayfish and put it in a container. Then sneak it in with the rest of our luggage when school resumes. During lunch or dinner, we sprinkled some of the ground crayfish on our food, and Bam! Just like that, the food tastes okay. You might wonder why just “okay”, after all crayfish is supposed to be an amazing season right? Well, you’ll have to imagine how terrible the food tasted prior to the addition of crayfish.

Bare in mind that crayfish, as little as they look, have a very strong aroma and equally strong flavour. So the quantity you use is dependent on the kind of food you’re making. For local nigerian soups like Afang, Edikang ikong; the names are a mouthful but they are absolutely delicious. But don’t take my word for it, look how amazing they look in these photos, and try to use your mind to taste them.

 

Nigerian Vegetable Soups
Edikang ikong and Afang soup respectively

Also Egusi (ground melon seed) soup. Now this is one soup which you can’t afford to scrimp on the crayfish. It plays a very important role in the overall turnout of the soup. No matter how tasty the stock. No matter the variety of meat and smoked or dried fish you use in making egusi soup. If the soup does not have sufficient quantity of crayfish, and when I say ‘sufficient’, I don’t use the word lightly. The soup will turnout to be a sorry disappointment.

Ironically, ground crayfish as a seasoning, doesn’t work as well when it comes to nigerian Fresh Seafood Soups. Especially in one of the most amazing seafood soups you will ever taste, if you haven’t tried it already. Fisherman Soup (recipe coming soon)-originated from the Efik tribe of Nigeria.

Fisherman's Soup
Fisherman’s Soup

Fisherman soup has absolutely no crayfish in it. This is because the delicious flavours of the fresh seafood, can easily be masked by the strong and imposing flavour of the crayfish. What’s the point of having Fisherman Soup if you can’t taste the fresh seafood?

In conclusion, crayfish gives our local cuisine the characteristic and unforgettable “local nigerian flavour”. That’s why we even use it as a seasoning in some of our rice dishes. To you out there who has never tried a dish that has been properly seasoned with ground crayfish, add it to your bucket list. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Yes, I’m also a farmer! (A dedication to my dad, a farmer at heart)

Yes, I'm also a Farmer (A dedication to my Dad: a farmer at heart)
Happy Cattles

Where it all began

Yes, I’m a farmer. Foods and their origin, has always been a passion of mine. It probably stems from the fact that my dad used to always look for a reason to plant something somewhere.

When I was little, we lived in a quaint town called Ahoada, in Rivers state, Nigeria. Our house wasn’t big but we made lots of fun memories. One of which was the compulsory farming expedition we embarked on almost every weekend. I’m sure you’re thinking we traveled to some faraway village to farm, Nope! The farm was about 10 feet away from the house, and also on the side of the house. We had neighbors living behind, or else daddy would’ve turned the backyard into a farm, like he did with the front and the side.

We grew plantains; huge ones, banana, cassava; large tubers (now that I think about it, everything we planted on that land, seemed to produce abnormally large fruit). There was this one time, my dad tried to uproot a cassava tuber but failed, because the tuber was over 7 feet long, and quite large, making it difficult for one man to uproot.  We also planted corn, and like that wasn’t enough, my mum had a flower garden (that was the first time I heard about, and saw the flower called “queen of the night”, because it only released it’s fragrance at night- stingy much??) My mum also had a poultry, with huge broiler cocks and hens that were about the size of adolescent goats.

So  on some Saturday’s, we put on our rain boots, matched to our little farm, and got to work. My dad made each of us responsible for one plantain or banana tree. I had a plantain tree. I’ll tell you something guys, planting seed in the ground, nurturing it, and watching it grow; the feeling is indescribable. I believe that’s when my love for agriculture and food began.

I had reasons to hate farming. For example, in secondary school, agriculture was one of the subjects I majored in. I had a really good agric teacher, I mean the man knew his onions, literally and figuratively. He appointed me class prefect for agric, and I felt like the Don Corleone of agriculture, that was until the day I showed up to class late. Oh that day was a bad day for me. Firstly, he didn’t let me in the class, which was quite embarrassing for a Don like me. When the class ended, he used a thick wooden ruler to flog the dread of late coming into my life. He didn’t flog me on the palm of my hand, that would’ve being humane. He flogged the back of my fingers, right on the bones, with the edge of the ruler. The pain, oh the pain! Anyway, it still didn’t deter my love for agriculture. Needless to say, I abdicated my throne as Don. Nothing could change my love for agriculture though, and now I am a proud farmer amongst other things. I don’t own acres of farm land yet, but I’m getting there.

What does all this have to do with the photo above? I took this picture in our local cattle depot in Port Harcourt city. My partners (who happen to be members of my family) in  the farming business and I, just got word that our cows had arrived. So we wanted to see them, sort of sample the merchandise, before selling them to some lucky stranger. Unfortunately, the gate was the farthest I could go. I saw their pointy horns, and the look on their faces, and decided that standing at the gate, which was both the entrance and the exit, was good enough for me. It would’ve been unfortunate if I decided to go in and the cows decided to lock horns with me, guess which side will lose. Yep! Definitely the hornless side. So we didn’t get to see our cows up close, but just know that somewhere in the midst of the brown cows stood ours, mooing away for joy.

I love farming because come rain or shine, black, white, or brown, vegan, vegetarian, or non-vegetarian, the one thing we all have in common is Food.

I hope that one day, my country will return to its first love, agriculture. There’s a reason God gave us a land so rich in nutrients, almost anything can grow in it.

One of the few things I’ve learned about farming recently is that, you have to be patient. It is not a get quick-rich-scheme, in fact it is one of the few professions you can not succeed in, if you do not have real passion for it. So many factors are involved in farming, whether crop farming or animal husbandry, that can affect your yield either positively or negatively. So if you know you’ve been bitten by the farming bug, the first thing you need to do is engage the help of an experienced farmer to learn from, as stated here by my fellow farmer https://kalusam.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/6-steps-to-succeed-in-agribusiness-as-a-youth-my-experience-iyd2016/

I’ll be telling you more about farming, and my experiences as a farmer, as time goes on. Who knows, I might just be the nudge you need, to show you that there’s a farmer in you too.

Amongst other things, one of my greatest reasons for loving agriculture is because it reminds me of my dad, and how he loved nature. So I’m dedicating this post to my daddy, a man who if  given the chance, would’ve had his own version of animal farm in his backyard. I love you forever daddy.

How to: Get rid of sticky Udara (African star apple) sap

Recently, I blended some udara pulp, amongst other ingredients, in my blender, and I completely forgot that the sap or juice from the fruit  gets very sticky after a few seconds. So when I was washing out my blender and other utensils that came in contact with the juice, it become an issue. I tried scrubbing hard with my sponge, but that only made it worse because it spread. So when I got tired I rinsed my blender jug and other utensils, and just left them with the sticky substance, hoping to come up with a way to get rid of it.

A whole day later, I remembered when I was little, I was told that kerosene had a way of dissolving sticky substances without doing any damage. Like when you get chewing gum in your hair, just apply kerosene, and it comes off. But I couldn’t use kerosene in my blender and on my other utensils. So I decided to use vegetable oil, since kerosene is also oily. Lo and behold, it worked!!

So if you find yourself in that situation and I guarantee you will, if you plan on making Kudara milk. Simply apply a little vegetable oil to the area that has the sticky substance, and wash it off. It could be any oil but I used vegetable oil.

I hope you found this tip helpful. If you have any questions or comments about this or any other food or kitchen related issue, drop it in the comment box and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Milk of Kudara [A blend of Tiger nut milk and Udara (African star apple)]

Milk of Kudara (A blend of Tiger nut milk and African star apple)

The story behind Kunu and Udara (Kudara)

Tiger nut milk was always my go to drink during recess in secondary school. I remember my hostel mistress, Mrs Okunola, used to make tiger nut milk, which is also known as Kunu in Northern Nigeria, bottle it, and chill it in her freezer. Sometimes I’d buy a 1.7 liter bottle of this smooth and refreshing milk with a hint of ginger, and drink it all through recess, without a care in the world. Ahhhh, those were good times.

Udara on the other hand, or the fruit globally known as African star apple, was not always a favourite of mine. For some reason I can’t explain, I couldn’t eat it without getting the juice on my clothes, and if you know anything about this fruit, you’ll know that the juice stain doesn’t come off clothes. Bleach all you want, once it gets on your cloth, it’s there for the long haul. So far, i’ve only figured out how to get rid of the sticky sap when it’s stains your knives or blender jugs, (see tip for How to: Get rid of sticky Udara (African star apple) sap .) Now i’m all grown, udara has become one of my favourite fruits, second only to bananas.

So I decided to combine my favourite milk with my second favourite fruit, and the result……………… well, you’ll see for yourself when you try out this easy recipe. One thing I can say is that you’ll want to have a pitcher of this milk, chilling in your fridge on a hot day, like the endless ones we’re currently experiencing in my city. I know you’ll enjoy it.

Send me your questions and i’ll be sure to get back to you.

Prep time: 49 minute,  Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Tiger nuts (3 cups, pre-soaked overnight)
  • Udara [a.k.a African star apple a.k.a agablumo in yoruba (5 fruits, seeded with the pulp scooped out)]
  • Coconut (1 cup, chopped)
  • Fresh ginger (1 tablespoon, chopped)
  • Maple syrup [1 and a quarter (1/4) cup)
  • Water (2 cups)
  • Vanilla extract (3 teaspoons)

Utensils

  • Blender
  • Cheese cloth (or a clean piece of chiffon material, for extracting the milk from the pulp)
  • A pitcher and glasses for serving

Preparation

  1. Firstly, thoroughly rinse out the tiger nuts. By doing this, you get rid of any dirt the nuts might have been exposed to  in the market. Place the rinsed nuts in a bowl and add water that’s just enough to cover them. Place in a refrigerator, and leave to soak overnight. The reason you do this, is to help soften the nuts a bit, before they go in the blender.
  2. Carefully remove the meat of the coconut from its shell, and chop into small pieces. Make sure to save the coconut water. Peel and chop the ginger. Cut the udara into two equal halves, carefully remove the seeds, and with a spoon, scoop out the pulp of the fruit, and place in a bowl. This is the only part you’ll be needing. Discard the peel and seeds.

    Chopped ginger, coconut, and Udara pulp
  3. Discard the water you used to soak the nuts. In a blender jug, place the tiger nuts, chopped coconut, Udara pulp,chopped ginger, and coconut water. Add half cup of water, and blend while slowly adding the rest of the water through the opening on the cover of the blender jug. If your blender is too small to blend all the ingredients at once, blend them in batches.
  4. Place a cheese cloth or a clean chiffon material, over a bowl. Make sure to secure the cloth at the sides, so it doesn’t fall into the bowl when you’re pouring the mixture on it.  Pour some of the blended mixture on the cloth, just enough that won’t be difficult for you to squeeze. I’m sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this part of the process, but it’s very easy. If you’ve ever watched your mum squeeze out water from corn starch, when preparing pap, or if you’ve seen someone squeeze out the liquid from cheese using a cheese cloth, that’s exactly what you should do here, except you might want to squeeze a little harder so you can get out as much milk as possible. It is very important to note that you must have very clean hands all through this process, because at no point will you be applying heat, which will normally destroy any harmful germs. So very clean hands and utensils, is the way to go.
  5. To the freshly squeezed milk, add the vanilla extract for flavor, and maple syrup for added sweetness. If you’re going to serve it to kids, then you can a little more syrup, just to sweeten it a bit. Pour the milk in the pitcher, and chill for a few minutes in the refrigerator before serving. You might notice the milk separates into sediments after standing for a while. No worries, just shake it and serve.

Milk of Kudara (A blend of Tiger nut milk and African star apple)