Family Tradition Gone Sour

Many remember their first meeting, date, first kiss, first trip together and so on.. Today, I choose to go down memory lane to excavate our very first quarrel after the wedding. I will leave us to help point out the lessons and learning curves.

So here I was, weeks after our wedding, snuggling around the house with my guy, totally convinced that our honeymoon will last a lifetime. We did practically everything together and were still over the moon about the fact that we were married.

Then came this Saturday morning and I woke up feeling very very homesick. Everything within me was longing for home and by that I mean my parent’s residence. That wouldn’t have been a challenge but for the fact that they lived outside Lagos, Nigeria where I reside with my husband. They were in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria, about five hours drive away.

I suddenly got an idea! It was like a light bulb moment! I could do something that reminded me of home. If I can’t go home, I could at least bring home over and that sounded brilliant to me. Being a Saturday morning and knowing my mum, I could predict that house cleaning was on going.

You see, growing up way back at home, we did intensive house cleaning first thing in the morning on Saturdays and breakfast was never made. Instead, we had brunch eaten between noon and 1 p.m. by which time we would have been through with the cleaning and totally famished. While the cleaning was ongoing, my mum would have started cooking a mixture of stewed beans mixed with rice. The beans would have been cooked soft and the rice will also be boiled in the same pot after which smoked fish, pepper, palm oil and other condiments will be added.

Needless to say, it was always so tasty and filling. Unknown to me, that meal had become ingrained in me as a family tradition, a sacred recipe that represented for me the dignity of labour and the care and demonstration of love by a mother with modest means but eager to give her children the best.

I excitedly got out of bed that Saturday morning and armed with my feelings of nostalgia, I went about cooking the stewed rice and beans, the exact same way my mum had always prepared it week in week out, year after year.

The aroma must have woken my hubby for he strolled straight into the kitchen and while cuddling his bride, asked what was cooking. I gleefully told him rice and beans and the look on his face made me realise he did not quite understand. For breakfast?  He asked and before I could explain it was for brunch, he opened the pot and out came the bombshell, “This is dog food!”

At that point, I felt like my family honour was at stake. How could he describe my family delicacy as food fit for the dogs? What an insult! Given that I was homesick and feeling sore, I got emotional and dissolved into tears. There was a big row. He refused to eat the food, insisting that once rice is made together with beans in that manner, it was cooked for dogs and not for human consumption. According to him, if it was meant for human consumption, the rice would have been made in a separate pot from the rice.

I concluded he was indirectly calling my family members dogs. When we eventually calmed down enough to discuss this rationally, I realised that while he was growing up, he had some Alsatian dogs and it was his responsibility to make their food on Saturdays.   The recipe was always a mixture of rice and beans cooked together and garnished with bones instead of the smoked fish we used back at home.

The lessons here are numerous. Let us point them out. Was that row avoidable? You may also share your own experience.

Let’s walk it together.

Bisi Adebayo
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Bisi Adebayo

I am Bisi Adebayo, a dynamic woman of many parts. I am a lawyer with over 27 years’ work experience spanning maritime practice, commercial law and general practice. I have had a decade long foray into the Financial Services Industry and at various times oversaw the legal, marketing, credit and treasury (assets trading and intermediation) functions of the organization I worked for, a testament to my versatility.

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