“Nigerian food is that cultural bridge between my homes” - What Nigerian Food Means to Us

As we crowdfund to raise £30k in 30 days for our first permanent home, Nigerian food has been on are mind more than ever. With Parts 1 and 2 to our Nigerian food guide, we gave you an introduction to Nigerian cuisine but what does it mean to the hearts and bellies of those tucking in? We asked our sibling duo Emeka and Ifeyinwa to share just what Nigerian food means to them and got our chop-chat-chillers talking Nigerian food too.

Ifeyinwa and Emeka kitchen-ready

Ifeyinwa and Emeka kitchen-ready

“A Cultural Bridge Between My Two Homes” – Emeka

Nigerian food is punchy, bold flavours and strong aromas. The centrepiece of every Nigerian social gathering, it alone is cause for celebration.

Nigerian food is fluffy dumplings made from crops pulled from the earth, and dipped in rich stews where indigenous fruits, leafy superfood greens and magic beans form the base. Peppered with mixed spices, grilled meats and smoked fish, it’s dramatic, hearty food.

A Nigerian staple - yam

A Nigerian staple - yam

No frills, no airs and graces. Simply it’s comfort food made with love. Food that gives you a big hug and says welcome home. Don’t be shy! Roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.  

For me, it’s that cultural bridge between my two homes, taking me back to roots. Taking me back to my Nnenne who always feared that one day I’d lose my connection with where I had come from - yet with every delightful mouthful, how could I ever forget?

Homemade yam chips and beef stew

Homemade yam chips and beef stew

“An Invisible Family Tree” – Ifeyinwa

Nigerian food is the head of the family. She is the matriarch - the one around which all her children gather. She welcomes them in no matter how far they travelled from home or how long they've been gone. For those meeting her for the first time, she travels from their tongue to their stomach, bedding down roots and connecting them to all others that know her - an invisible family tree.

She wipes the tears of her children as they arrive heartbroken at the loss of a loved one. She shares in the celebration of another year of life, and cracks a joke to alleviate the weight of returning from a long day at work. Nigerian food is always there - ready, waiting for her children to welcome them home.

She is old and her body is soft - pillowy, and providing extra comfort to those she holds. In her aged hands she holds the wisdom of a life well-lived, for she spent her youth foraging her motherland, learning the fruits the earth and their infinite possibilities.

Egusi seller at Ketu Market, Mile 12 in Lagos

Egusi seller at Ketu Market, Mile 12 in Lagos

An artist of sorts, she sees uses for parts others discarded, and from one plant created many gifts.

The years of wandering is painted on the wrinkles of her skin - each one, a story of an unwritten recipe. Within her chest she holds the secret to an array of flavours, and strong aromas permeate her clothes.

She is old, unassuming, unimpressive to behold in fact. The judging eye may think, "she's let herself go" but she's never cared for jewels or artifice. She's simple not simplistic, and those who know this recognise her magical beauty.

Feast fit for the ‘gram

Feast fit for the ‘gram

“Food for the Soul” - Our Chop-Chop-Chillers:

Homely, yes! Spicy, only sometimes :)

Homely, yes! Spicy, only sometimes :)

The question is which dance - shaku shaku or shoki?

The question is which dance - shaku shaku or shoki?

We think they meant warming and we couldn’t agree more!

We think they meant warming and we couldn’t agree more!

Want see what tasty treats we’ll be rewarding our crowdfunder backers with head to our crowdfunding page and get yours today!