Food As A Gateway To Experience Other Cultures

Food brings People together on many different levels. Its nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love.

Giada De Laurentiiis

What you eat can be a reflection of so many things. Some people stick to the food of their childhood or youth and never venture out to try foods from other cultures.

Not going to lie, trying new foods can be risky. It is a bit like going on an adventure. I used to be the girl who was content to eat what I had always known. But once we began to move and travel and live in other countries, I had no choice but to expand my palette and get my taste buds used to different tastes and textures.

I can still remember how difficult it was for me when we first moved to Zambia, and I had to learn how to eat Nshima and kapenta. The great thing was that at boarding school the food, for the most part, was potatoes, rice, chicken, bread, sweet potatoes. Food I was familiar with. I tasted mushroom and Shepherd’s pie, and chicken ala kin for the first time. I loved most of the desert that was served every day at lunchtime except the banana fritters.

I did find that I missed having plantains, yams, moimoi and other Nigerian delicacies I had taken for granted when I was growing up in Akure, Nigeria. But I was always so glad to when holidays came, and I would go back home to Ndola where there would be some egusi soup waiting to welcome us home. I looked forward to those small tastes of 🇳🇬.

Before long, however, something unusual occurred, we began to embrace our new situation. Soon our meals were a hybrid a reflection of our Nigerian culture and our new home.

When West Africa meets East Africa.

When I moved to California for university at age 18, nothing could have prepared me for the struggle to find food that I enjoyed. The first year was not that great. Eventually, I found out that I loved burritos, quesadillas, cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and I loved when I got to eat food from other cultures.

Joining the International Student Association meant I got to try and fall in love with Boba, Korean BBQ, Dim sum and other cuisines.

After University, I returned home to the continent. While I was away at University, my family had moved again. This time to Kenya. So a year after graduating, I packed my bags and headed for Kenya. I took a detour trip to Accra 🇬🇭 first before settling down in Nairobi, 🇰🇪 . I spent five months in Accra and fell in love with Ghana. I also got to try Ghanian food. I particularly enjoyed red red, waakye, and kelewele.

In Nairobi, I got back to eating a hybrid of meals that by now had expanded so much more. It took me a while to get used to Kenyan cuisine apart from chappati that I adore.

Ugali took some time, and then it was tweaked to suit our West African palette. Sukumawiki was accessorised to make it have a more Nigerian flavour. But I did get to appreciate Mukimo, Githeri, and Pilau.

When I moved back to Nigeria, first in 2013 and most recently in 2019, I was excited to eat Nigerian meals. However, the truth is after a while; I begin to miss cuisine from other cultures I have had the privilege of sampling their food.

I love dessert. I also enjoy having a burger or pizza once in a while. One of the things I am thankful for is that I got to experiment in 2018 with cooking my meals using Hello Fresh as well as just playing in the kitchen using my imagination.

I love to go beyond my culture when eating. My food preferences highlight the fact that I am a global citizen. People in Nigeria might find me strange, but I am happy to be me. I can’t wait to try more new cuisines even though I am back in Nigeria.

What about you? Do you love to try new dishes out? Experiencing Food from other cultures in one way to go on adventures without ever living home.

3 thoughts on “Food As A Gateway To Experience Other Cultures

  1. Okay, now I’m back!

    As much as I love adventure, the color, and the presentation of a dish market a whole lot to me. I like my meals simple and not too colorful. But then again, the kite-y me will most definitely still try the foods out. I’m a foodie for a reason, right? LOL

  2. This is a colourful post taht made me salivate. I admire your travel experience and look forward to having similar experiences as well. Well done, Bethany.

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