A Tale of Two Cousins

So we had run out of gist on this particular rainy Saturday evening at our favorite spot in Lagos. We had spoken about all the new movies in the cinemas, our different ‘dedes’, talked about all the “red cap chiefs” in our workplaces and had a good laugh at everything we had been gisting about. How did we know we would end up talking about food? Typical girls’ time out, our chit chat had gone from one topic to the other.

Were we consoling ourselves when our next topic was about the fairness of creation and how what you lose in genetic advantage (looks specifically), you gain in many other relevant ways using Banana and Plantain as our examples?

Unlike its cousin, Banana, Plantain is not as pretty and sleek with really bright yellow skin, not as tasty or friendly to the taste buds when eaten raw and not as readily available. Speaking about the fairness of creation, we all agreed that what the ugly cousin lost in looks and appearance was gained in some other ways. Plantain, the overweight, starchy and denser cousin is a lot tougher, can take more pounding and heat and would willingly be made into different kinds of meals and dishes.

How many Plantain recipes did my girls know? Arike, my health conscious ‘Yellow Sisi’ friend said there were only 2 ways to make Plantain: The healthy and unhealthy way. What did we expect? we laughed and argued with her at the same time; and then very domesticated ones started reeling out the many ways they make and like to be served Plantain. We talked about the fried, boiled, roasted, drying methods of cooking them. We agreed with making Plantain into flour, but could not get over Bola’s explanation of what she meant by “making it into a “Pudding” as well”. We laughed harder than ever when we realized she meant making it into “Ball Food” like Amala. I could not help but put up LWKMD @ Bola’s “Pudding” as my Blackberry display message.

Bola our grammarian thought we were having so much fun and we should turn it into a game of Scattergories. It took a few seconds to understand she meant the popular Name, Place, Animal, Thing game, Oga o. We had a good time writing names of Plantain dishes such as Plantain porridge, Boiled Plantain, Dodo, Fried Plantain, Boli, Gizdodo, we were even magnanimous enough to mark Plantain chips and “Chipsy”. We ended up on Google to look for new recipes. Little did we know that Frying Plantain wasn’t a Nigerian thing. Ashe Plantain isn’t a local champion!

We realized how much we had in common with other countries. Even Jamaica dey fry Plantain but we didn’t exactly agree with the food blog that called it the Jamaican Fried Plantain (before nko?). We thought It should have been “Nigerian fried Plantain recipe” instead.

Was I very surprised when I learnt about the scrumptious Jamaican Plantain tarts served with Ice cream, or the really tasty Plantain Fritters, the mouthwatering Indian Plantain Curry recipe? You bet I was. I could not but reckon that we need to be more adventurous with our recipes in Nigeria. Who even talk say diced Plantain inside Peak milk no be recipe? we go put sugar sha.

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