I have a secret.
I've had it for quite a while now, and I have decided that it is time to reveal it to the whole world.
Do you remember when teleportation first appeared in science fiction literature and we were all impressed, thinking of the numerous things we would do if technology ever advanced to that point? Well, the truth is, we cracked teleportation ages ago and it has nothing to do with science and technology but everything to do with food.
When you look up the definition of food, it simply gives you the 'nutrition' definition. It's obviously true that food is a nutritious substance eaten by humans to maintain life and growth, but it's so much more than that, and this is what most people fail to recognise. Food is a journey, from the process of preparation right down to serving and eating. Food wields a powerful ability that can take you either through time or transport you to a different location entirely. We grow up eating food from our cultures, and it inevitably becomes part of who we are. This is why we form a special attachment with those foods, and the taste, smell and even the sight of those foods bring back good memories.
As I write this, I am not at home, neither in my country nor continent. But when i feel homesick, I bring out the pots and pans and begin the process. When asked why I chop the onions like this instead of like that, the simple answer is because that's how mother used to chop it. Food preparation for me is not merely going through the motions, its almost ritualistic. The sound of the pots clanging, the heady smell of spices in the air, opening the pot every few minutes to check whether the taste is up to standard, before finally serving the dish in familiar white plates in heady anticipation for the first bite.The burst of flavour on my tongue transports me all the way back to Nigeria. The spiciness that makes me sniffle, but is so well blended with taste and texture of the dish, that it makes me hesitant to pause for a sip of water.
There is a quote by James Beard which says "Food is our common ground, a universal experience." Everyone eats, no matter what tribe, culture or country you belong to. Food does not only provide that feeling of nostalgia, but it can also be used as a bridge to connect various cultures together. Eating food from various places other than yours is a good experience and that mixture of the whole flavour spectrum, flowing from salty and sweet all the way to the pungent and aromatic scent of herbs and spices is something everyone needs to experience. Dishes from different locations might just transport you there for the brief duration of that meal. Not only the food itself but how it is prepared, served and eaten can give you a deep insight and feeling about the culture and tradition of others. Don't you find it funny how different places have similar foods or even the same food with different names? That's another wonder of food. It is different, yet unifying.
Home is where the heart is. The quickest way to the heart is through the stomach.
you see the connections?
I bid you farewell and good luck in your teleporting travels and experiences through time and space!