By – Binta Nwachukwu
Alas, I have reached my last bus-stop!!!! After touring the states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, going for all night prayer session and even bathing by Njaba River, I finally found the one; the bone of my bone; my missing rib.
I used to be the president of the “I must marry an igbo man” association. You know how it is for we core Ibo ladies. I can recount how many heartbreaks had been inflicted on me by Chinedu, Uchenna, Okoroafor and Ozoemena. Somehow it was impossible to consider not marrying outside my tribe; perhaps I had watched too may aunties, cousins and how they chose their partners. Perhaps also the many evenings of listening to my mom and her friends talking, had finally taken its toll.
I feared the idea of going far away from my state not to talk more of going to another tribe entirely. It was IMPOSSIBLE in my dictionary, how would I learn their language, culture et al. I really thought that being married to the Ibo man in the next village or within the eastern region was going to give me an edge to gain respect or even seal the relationship forever and for good as we are already familiar with our culture and tradition. Perhaps, there are good Ibo men out there but unfortunately I never got to meet any.
Meeting Kola and instantly falling for him was an act of God, a completely unexpected and life changing event. He was such a young intelligent man, and honestly it would have been difficult for many young ladies to resist him; I couldn’t believe my luck when he came over to me and literally got stuck by my side. The party was littered with the hottest brands Lagos had to offer, infact I spent several moments wondering if the ‘fool’ was looking for an easy prey. I instantly made up my mind that he would have the toughest run of his life, but oh!! How I let myself down gloating like a goat being led to the slaughter.
The past six months has been the best of my life; a fantastic experience, particularly as I have had to learn how to prepare various Yoruba delicacies, how to open up, trust, and love somebody. When you love someone you do all you can to keep it that way. I was advised that the surest way to winning my man over was impress, love, and show care and respect towards his Mother, and there was nothing going to stop me from achieving that.
On that fateful day, my to be mother-in-law strolled into the living room as I was recuperating from my chores, in front of the TV, flipping between channels 152, 156 & 157. I was excited to see her, the day had come for me to show her my culinary skills and impress her with a Yoruba food of her choice. I asked what she wanted for lunch and her request was eforiro soup, kola turned to her and said mummy we have other varieties of soup in the fridge but she insisted that eforiro was what she wanted. I said to myself, ahhhhh!! Mummy is trying to bring out my leg, ‘today she has so met her waterloo. In a swift action that showed me a ‘wife material,’ I was up and ready to hit the market, all to the gaze and admiration of my mother in law. Fully aware of the impression this meal would make, I drove to the market in high spirits. In 30 minutes my shopping bag was filled with the efo leaves, and loads of animals (Assorted meat).
I entered the house filled with smiles and bellowed greetings to Kola and my MIL, whilst they were catching up in a very relaxed mood. All roads led straight to my haven – my kitchen. Quickly, I chopped the tatashe, onions and ata rodo, blended it roughly and drained the excess fluid with a colander.
With my already boiled hot water, I soaked my tete leaf (vegetable) with a teaspoon of salt for about 15 minutes and squeezed out the excess water. I went further to boil my assorted meat with seasoning and salt and I had to make sure that the water dried a little to avoid excess liquid in my soup.
Did you know that eforiro can be served with Eba, Semovita, Fufu, Amala, Iyan (pounded yam), wheat flour and even boiled white rice? For me, I will go with semovita as it is my favourite and a simple carbonhydrate. Please feel free to try it with any you desire. A diabetic patient can also enjoy it with unripe plantain as it has lots of health benefits and will not cause an increase in sugar intake.
All preparations were made and I was set to do the proper cooking. Back in the sitting room, Kola and his mum were having a conversation on skpye with his sister. I heard his mum say to her “iyawo wa n se obe efo fun mi” (our wife is making efo soup for me). I smiled and returned to the kitchen to wrap up.
Placed a pot on medium heat, added palm oil and allowed it bleach a little (smoky). Threw in tiny chopped onions and fried it until a little brown. Next up was the blended items; I fried it for about 3 minutes and added my iru (locust beans) and the product from my assorted meat. Covered the pot and allowed it simmer for 20 minutes. The palm oil was already floating to show that the sauce was ready.
The aroma of the food was all over the house as mother in law called out “is the food ready yet?!!!” almost ma, I replied. Added the tete leaf stirred, tasted and adjusted for seasoning and I let it simmer for an extra 5 minutes.
My soup was ready and I dished and served mother in law.
I knelt and said mummy the table is set. We all moved to the dining table and I watched mummy demolishing a mountain of iyan (pounded yam) with smiles and relish. I had made it, I had scored a big point, and this was my day. We sat down to watch Channel 157 and almost instantly mummy was in another realm, as her snores testified. The warm hug and smiles I received, the advice to Kola to take care of me and treasure me, the assurances that I should come to her if anything went wrong, and the event that occurred between me and Kola that night was testimony to the fact that I had indeed won mummy’s heart.
Photo Credit – Donney’s Kitchen