Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Joy of Cooking.... COntinued from December's Newsletter

...... "Whenever a friend goes to Africa or is coming to America to visit, I ask them to bring me this stuff," he followed up with. This is undoubtedly one of the best gifts a friend can give, a piece of home.

After nearly an hour of carefree cooking, the much-anticipated dish was nearly complete. All that was now needed was the taste test. "Stick out your hand," Ndikum said. Being the adventurous type, I cooperated and before I knew it, egusi soup was splattered on my palm. "This is how we do in Africa," said Ndikum, as I was instructed to lick it off my hand. The savory base from the cow meat and oil livened my taste buds, while the infused creamy tomato smoothed everything out; I couldn't wait to dig in.  

Just as we sat down and began to pig out, a knock came from the door. Mustafa, a Cameroonian man who lives in the same apartment complex as Armyao, came in and immediately began talking about his car problems that day. "It sucked man, I was so pissed," he said. To cheer him up, we offered him some of the egusi soup and he politely declined. "Mustafa, you must try this," I said, "it is delicious!". "No it is alright, I have been trying that for my entire life," he cleverly stated. This interaction only reinforced my understanding of how ingrained this dish was to the West African culture.

I have always cherished the rewarding nature of cooking; but cooking alongside refugees, asylees, and the like, has expanded this juvenile feeling into something that cannot simply be stated through words in order to fully convey, but instead must be directly experienced. That is, a sense of worldly connection.

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