Fufu or French fries? Cultural culinary pride.

kofiWhen Ghanaian actor (Nana)-Kofi Siriboe was in first grade he was asked ‘What’s your favorite food?’ He said ‘Fufu,’ and everyone in his class laughed. His honesty and cultural pride is heart warming but who can blame innocent first graders in America whose diets consist of burgers, chips and pizza…? Like most Africans living in the diaspora this culinary dilemma is all too familiar. We have a weakness for our home cooking but there is this ‘social pull’  to embrace mainstream Western dishes like the above. Are these dishes really ‘mainstream Western’? Let’s take a look.

1. French fries – “Though the French have tried to claim them, french fries were invented by the Belgians. Some Belgians would often fry very small fish, and when they had no fish, they would make potatoes in the shape of small fish instead.”
2. Nachos – “While nachos were originally invented by a Mexican, they were made to satisfy the appetites of visitors from the USA, out of spare ingredients lying around. The man who invented them was “Ignacio”, thus the name nachos.”
3. Sushi – “Sushi is rarely eaten in Japan. Sushi is a meal usually reserved for an important event and in Japan it is actually called nigiri – a long piece of fish with a big ball of rice wrapped around it using seaweed.”
4. Pizza – Italy’s most iconic dish, was actually invented by the Greeks in 100 B.C., who created a flatbread called plakountos and topped it with meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
5. Sandwich – “the birth of the sandwich was credited to Lord John Montagu. Montagu had a reputation as a notorious gambler in the British Isles. In the 1700s he was too busy gambling to step away from the table to eat or to use cutlery to eat roast beef. This made the cards dirty. He decided to start using two pieces of bread to hold the meat while he played cards.”
Verdict – It’s fair to conclude that almost all the food we eat has its roots in a local village somewhere very far away from USA – similar to fufu. Fufu hasn’t quite made it’s mark on ‘mainstream Western’ dinner tables and in restaurants but when you dig in to a bowl of this delightful meal, you wouldn’t be laughing – you’ll be asking for seconds!
MOCCA Mums – what are your kids favorite dishes?
(Photo credit Essence)
(Content source listverse)