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Opinion: I Do Not Like Jollof Rice

by on August 16, 2017

So, it shocks me – I’m not sure why – to see people completely immune to the wonders of Jollof Rice. First there was Amanda proclaiming Rice and Stew as King and now, Munachim.

Any sort of exploration brings you face to face with alignment and misalignment and when I find thought leaders in this space, people who can go against the rising tide of mass opinion, I beg them to write. And when they beautifully oblige, I have no option but to share.

FYI – I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE this piece, lover of Jollof as I am. It brings up and out so many interesting perspectives. What do you think?

My name is Munachim Chukwuma, a complete Nigerian citizen, born and bred in Nigeria. I had to make that clear because my opinion on Jollof rice – Nigerian Jollof rice (cause I’m Nigerian) has caused my birthright to be questioned.

I am big on food, I loveeee good food and I am one of those people who go to bed almost every day dreaming of what to eat the next day. Good food keeps the soul happy! I have proof.

This Jollof rice hype that has been all over the continent for a while, even going as far as grabbing international attention has me shook. I am sincerely taken aback. Jollof rice? Jollof rice!?…of all the African dishes we have, this imposter (in this case: a food which pretends to be more than it is in other to deceive others, for fraudulent fame) of a food makes the spotlight. Wow. It’s hard for me to take it all in.

Jollof rice is basically a mix of white rice and tomatoes sauce/stew, that’s all it is. A mix.

I am for the school of thought that regular white rice and stew is greater}}}}}, for me stew includes (Egusi, Nsala, Ofe Akwu/ Banga, Afang, Efo riro) all of these beautiful godly delicacies anyone can eat with white rice really.


And No, white rice and tomato stew is not the same as having Jollof rice, it is not!

Nigerian recipe with Catfish

Everybody knows Jollof rice has what I like to call ‘the firewood advantage’ and ‘bottom pot miracle’, this is where even i can lose my resolve (oh but he that is in me is greater). But then, should we now pile up firewood in our kitchens or try to burn under pots because of Jollof rice? So sad.

Copy of Maggi_WJD-56

I am not going to even bother about the history of Jollof rice, where it comes from is not as important as where it now lives, has built house, married, had children and blown from (Nigeria).

I do not hate Jollof rice, it is food and I love food.

I just cannot wrap my mind around this hype, this publicity it has worn overnight while the rest of us were sleeping.

Let me tell you a brief story: I stopped eating Jollof rice when I was in junior secondary class 3, this is now almost 10 years ago. I went to an independent boarding school for 6 years (throughout high school), a catholic school. They served us Jollof rice every Thursday evening. Somewhere in JSS 3, I just couldn’t have it anymore. I was fed up and I got bored! Jollof rice is boring, such a boring mix, also part of why I can’t wrap my beautiful head around the hype.

Also I have been privileged to live in both Nigeria and Ghana, I lived in Ghana for almost four years. If you’ve followed the ‘Jollof Wars’, you know Nigeria and Ghana were the two finalists, so sad. My opinion has not changed. Jollof rice is over-hyped and it needs to sit down and be humble.

This is my conclusion: the PR adoration has nothing to do with Jollof rice, Jollof rice is just one lucky tool.

When people attend these Jollof competitions/festivals that have now been hosted in different places, they do not go to taste the Jollof rice. They go to taste nationalities, they go to identify with food patriotism. They go to watch food professionals defend their country through food, Jollof rice (tomato paste – onion – salt – spices – pepper) is just a cover.

P.S: Concoction rice (heard of it?) is a kin to Jollof (unblown version) deserves the PR more. Anyone irrespective of class can afford to eat concoction rice, creating a formal easy recipe may help solve/manage world hunger (just saying).

This had me rolling on the floor.

I absolutely loved Munachim’s perspective. And now, I’m thinking about food patriotism – I really like how this is a perfect illustration of food making you take sides, and it works both ways. So there are the #JollofWars between Nigeria and Ghana but there was also #Jollofgate and what was beautiful about that situation when a British chef made a version of Jollof which was rejected across Africa is that Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal (the original owners :)), and the rest of the continent (maybe excluding East, North and South Africa :() rose up in arms, united over Jollof, Nigeria and Ghana laying aside their differences

Thank you, Munachim.

Are you of the same ilk? A hater of Jollof? Want to share your perspective? Let me know – I’d be glad to share

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