When I changed countries, ninety nine percent of my homesickness was caused by missing familiar food.
I asked, “What will my life be without Party Jollof Rice and Egusi?”
The only familiar food I had carted away in good conscience past airport security and xray machines were thirty pieces of Indomie Chicken flavored noodles.
I ate one a day, until, it was no more.
All of a sudden, I had cravings for food I had never cooked before.
Ewedu with Buka Stew and Goat Meat.
I dreamt of its green color and viscosity.
Each baby goat I came across on people’s farms was re-imagined as a slaughtered victim in a boiling pot of curry.
Pining and grieving, I spent many gloomy days thinking of the kitchen and dishes I knew.
My friends wanted to dig me out of this pit. They would ask:
“What starches do you eat?”
“Yam, Rice, Cassava”.
“What spices do you use?”
“Curry, Thyme, Basil.”
“What vegetables are you familiar with?”
“Spinach, Okra, Lettuce.”
So, it was with their help that I was directed to Farmers’ Markets, Organic Stores, and Supermarkets that sold home.
Knife slicing away on the chopping board and pot set over fire, it began to feel like familiar again.
There was a ray of light in this dark place and I could claw my way out, one dish at a time.
I would stir with joy and sit by the gas burner with anticipation.
The steam from the cooking pots and scents from sizzling frying pans were the threads of a comfort blanket I spun and wrapped myself around on those days I felt lost.
And when my flat mates could no longer resist the delicious fragrance that permeated into their rooms, they would come by the kitchen and ask,
“Hey you, what’s Cooking”?
With unbridled excitement, I would reply, “Home!”