Longthroat Memoirs by Yemisi Aribisala

Longthroat Memoirs by Yemisi Aribisala

Nigerian food belongs to the Nigerian… It is not gastronomically illustrious, not yet given its due…it is also a multifaceted cultural treasure trove full of intriguing stories…

Aribisala writes about Nigerian ingredients and soups in the way one would a lover, a person whose tricks, tastes, and curves are as known and dear as one’s own body. She showcases the dynamic, larger-than-life personality of Nigerian food and seats it on its own throne among food royalty.

In each essay, every recipe or pot of soup she talks about, she describes every detail so exquisitely that as you read, you can taste the crunchy, bursting seeds of green, fresh, perfectly made okro, and the tasty deliciousness of king prawns added just at the right minute to soup.
Long throat memoirs is more than an ode to Nigerian soups; it is a slow, sensuous undressing, a revelation of the savory goodness and bursts of pleasure that can be achieved with the right ingredients. It is also a dip in the rich ponds of Nigerian history and the diverse indigenous cultures.
Reading this book made me want to pay the author a visit, not to ask any questions but to watch her cook. To watch her place one ingredient after another and make pot after pot of delicious goodness. She writes about food in a way that I have never read.
And what is to be said about the writing? Read this. “I can hear how the sentence ricochets in the mind, and taste how revolutionary it is in the mouth. the words are English but they are not. I feel proud to be a Nigerian in this sense. we can acquire and own an idea, a thing or a word and invade its body like a spirit, thereby changing its face, moving the facial muscles and creating a new personality. someone confronts the face and asks, ‘Who are you again?’ And it answers, “The same person. The very same.”But it is not. We have possessed it.” She conjures up 3-dimensional images with her words, the choice, rhythm, and placement of them.
The Yoruba’s version of saying ‘blah blah blah’ is the words ‘Igba, awo, ikoko baba isasun’. It literally translates to a selection of cooking and eating implements: pots and pans. I suppose it means the movement of pots and pans: noise. I have to remove the ‘isasun’, the local pot, from that trivialising list. It has been regarded for long enough. In my house, it is the king of cookware.
With wit, excellent anecdotes, and a dash of irreverence, Yemisi Aribisala has unveiled the true essence of Nigerian cooking.

What do you think?