Reflections with UbongUsoro: Immortalizing our Traditional African Dishes

Wow, ita��sgood to be here, I believe snake did not swallowed your money this week. However, be careful not to fall a victim,(thata��s on a lighter note). Today, Reflections with UbongUsoro, is taking a look at how we can preserve our traditional cuisines for posterity. Food is culture. I believe very few people will argue thisfact. Food is tradition. Tradition is a major stalk of our lives. They are the rock upon which our families and societies are built. They remind us of our past, help us reflect on our present, and projects our future. Traditionally, in Africa our dishes are made up of a combination of locally available fruits, cereal, grains and vegetables, partly milk and meat products, most of our African dishes have their own distinctive preparation methods, and consumption techniques. Traditionally, we use our fingers to eat foods like EkpangNkokwo, and the likes, in a traditional African setting they are some courtesy expected in eating some foods. This article is written because of our a�?new generation Childrena�� who no longer find pleasure in eating our traditional Cuisines and in the process this leads to extinction of a good number of dishes. Parents are not proud to teach their Children how to eat meals like AsaIwa, AsaIbikpod, etc. How can we reverse this trend?


1.Organization of Traditional food festival: I propose that to preserve our dishes, each Clan/Village should set aside a day to sensitize their people on various local dishes, thet and show them how it can be prepared. A day were illustrious Sons/Daughters of such communities will be invited to support the traditional food campaign, and winners will be duly awarded. This will go a long way in preserving our traditional dishes from extinction.

2. Family campaign: Families, especially urban residents should set out a week where only native meals are served in the family from Udia, Ikpong,Mkpafere, this will help in enlightening the children, and even the adults on the need to help immortalize our cuisines in their lifetime.

3. Youths should desist from over imitating other Cultures: only those cultures worthwhile should be copied and not everything they see in Hollywood,Neglecting their won native culture, we should not only order for pizza on dates, but should also order for meals like EdikanIkong to spice up our leisure.

4. Artist should join the Campaign: Our local artists should join in the fight to preserve and immortalize our local dishes, renownedartist like MrXto etc. Should bring out tunes that will remind the people on the need to preserve our local foods.

5.Traditional African Dishes should be taught as a course: A course centered on the need to preserve our local dishes should be introduced in our secondary/tertiary levels of education and taught as a GST, this will help inculcate the Spirit of Unity and love for our meals in our graduates.

6. Nigerian Movies: Our producers should write scripts, showcasing the need of preserving our Traditional African Dishes, and not only acting about Love and Royal battles.

7. UNESCO: Relevant bodies should see how to present our case to UNESCO, asking them to include African dishes in their list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, after all French gastronomic meal, and Traditional Mexican Cuisines are found in their list, so African dishes should also find a place there.

I believe we can preserve our culture and see our society grow, we can raise, a society based on conscious awareness of the truth, that food is a factor of unity.


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Ubong writes for the NigerianVoice, he lives in Uyo.


SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)

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