Eating With Hands


Growing up, most every Saturday morning, we would wake up to a rhythmic booming sound from the kitchen. Boom. Boom. Boom. I knew immediately, without even opening my eyes or venturing out of the bedroom, what we were going to have for breakfast; Pounded Yam and Pepper soup, or Egusi soup, or Ogbono soup, or Efõ Riro.

It was our nannie’s treat that became a weekend tradition. We’d wake up at 6am, no chores, no bath, in PJs, head downstairs to eat an all carbs fest breakfast.

6am. The best hour to eat in our opinion. After eating we’d do our household chores, full of energy, and then almost immediately afterwards, fall asleep until late afternoon, delightfully lazy and happy.

6pm we would have dinner of pounded yam again. That was our meal for the day and it was plenty enough.

Food, in our culture, as in most other cultures, brings people together. It was our way of community and togetherness. We’d eat with our hands, tell stories as we ate, and make fun of each other. Growing up, we didn’t have much but something about meal times, made us feel like we owned the world.

When we went back home for our father’s funeral in November we had dinner with a family friend and they served pounded and vegetable (efõ riro) soup and it brought back all those memories growing up, as we sat around the table exchanging stories and belly and heart full of laughs. After sometime we abandoned the forks and knives and dug in with our hands just like old time.