National meal

So yesterday someone asked me, ‘what is the national meal of your country?’ To be honest I did not understand the question. It was not that it was my first time of being asked this trick question the problem was that it was the first time I had began to think about the political and social implication of what I said next.

Coming from Western Africa, Nigeria precisely there are a range of different cuisines. I dare say the number of dishes number into triple digits. What most people don’t realise is that it is such a huge country with various ethnic group and tribes and some meals are tribe-specific.
So going back to answer the question ‘what is the national meal of your country?’ I’m not sure what my response should be. Should I say it is Egusi soup and pounded yam*- surely it is not every Nigerian who would agree with me, those from Lagos might be happy with that but what about those from Kano or Warri.

What I have observed though is that in as much as there is such a variety of delicacies, there are a few delicacies that resound in parties and events that no one can say with full certainty what tribe they come from. The meal jollof rice for example is a staple food served generally in every Nigerian party. However, I would be wrong to say it is Nigerian because I have noticed that it is eaten across West Africa and beyond. History further reveals that jollof rice has its origin in Senegal as it was named after the Wolof people who loved to make stewed rice.

The question though is, Can I be reasonably politically correct if I said jollof# is the national food of Nigeria? On the surface I might be correct to say that but upon closer examination I wouldn’t. Looking at the definition of ‘National food’, Wikipedia reveals that ‘it is a meal or snack that is indigenous to a particular group or country’. So for example I could say Sunday roast is England’s national food but I would be wrong to say it is fish and chips (don’t freak out!). Even though fish and chips is a long held friday English traditional meal it is of Italian decent and so would not fall within the definition of a national meal. What this means basically is that I would also be wrong by extension to say that jollof rice is Nigeria’s national meal since it’s origins are not Nigerian.

The question I should thus be asking is ‘does Nigeria have a national meal?’ I would say No. The correct answer would have to be that Nigeria has regional meals.

Do you agree with me? I agree this is a controversial subject and I would love your take on this. Feel free to drop me a comment in the box underneath. If you are not Nigerian I would love you to share the national meals (if there really is one) of of your country. Don’t forget to like and reblog!

*Marshed yam and stewed green vegetables in mellon seeds
# jollof is used interchangeably with jollof rice

Jollof rice I made this a couple of months ago. This is jollof rice and chicken, garnished with cucumbers and tomatoes

Jollof rice
I made this a couple of months ago. This is jollof rice and chicken, garnished with cucumbers and tomatoes

Egusi soup Picture courtsey: It captures Egusi soup and pounded yam. Usually eating in separate plates- But I thought this presentation was creative

Egusi soup
Picture courtsey:
It captures Egusi soup and pounded yam. Usually eating in separate plates- But I thought this presentation was creative



Imagine the sound of long fingernails moving slowly on a black board, or the sound of a steel spoon moving repeatedly in a circular motion around an empty stainless pot… Did you cringe a little by imagining these sounds?

You are perfectly normal if you did, well if you didn’t may be you did not imagine hard enough. Personally, I find these sounds utterly annoying. The moment I hear a screeching metal sound for instance, I not only experience a sudden mood change but I get goose bumps as though I am freezing, occasionally I have to grind my teeth hard or clench my fist tight to distract myself from this awful sound.

Come to think of it, I have always had this aversion to this sound since I was little, at least as far as I can remember. One thing I cannot help but wonder is why some people are more sensitive to screeching metal than others?

To begin, what I want to know is what causes one to cringe at the sound of awful sounds.

As usual I saved you the stress of research. Look what I discovered:

University of New Castle carried out a recent research (read it here) on this issue. Their aim was to find out the association between the auditory cortex (part of brain responsible for understanding sound) and the amygdala (part of the brain responsible for emotions). Using fMRI (a brain imaging technique) their finding showed that the amygdala modulates the unpleasant sound received like a “distress signal” and provokes a negative reaction. The study also discovered that this negative reaction occurred with sounds ranged between 2,000 to 5,000 Hz range.

Don’t you think it’s amazing the way our brain interprets certain sounds? Some have said that the reason this negative reaction is triggered is to ensure that we put an end to this sound as soon as it begins. So it could be a survival technique to protect our ears perhaps.

The question I asked earlier about why some are more sensitive to the sound. I read from an article (read here
) that it depends on the context in which the noise occurred. Perhaps, if you heard the screech of an iron sponge against a stainless steel pot you likely may not cringe if you were in the kitchen anticipating the noise than if you were in your bedroom. Another point also is that response to sounds might vary with individuals, depending on how close they are to the noise, their ears and of course their individual sensitivity.

So the next time you hear a screech, remember that whatever your response is- You are perfectly normal 😉

When was the last time you heard a screech? How did you react?