Jollof Rice

Priceless are the memories of Mumsie’s cooking

From the elasticity of her pounded yam, to the thickness of her soup

With road blocks of periwinkles, dry fish and beef !

My mouth still waters at the memory

Best of all was her Sunday, Sunday Special

Jollof rice !

From the picking of the stones from the rice, to the per boiling and washing

Grinding tomatoes, pepper, onions and crayfish on the grinding stone

And frying the paste in bleached palm oil before adding salt

And other spices to taste

All in the big iron pot in the backyard

The steam and the aroma from the pot always announces its presence

Without invitation

As it glides in and out of the rooms and through the yard

Jollof rice !

                Sometimes there was beef and other times there was fish to go with it

As it was a Sunday, Sunday special

Other times, there was nothing to go with the mix except for dry fish

Mumsie soaked, washed and shredded into the pot

Jollof rice !

All of us children would

Play around the open kitchen in high anticipation

Watching the pot carefully placed over three stones

As the cover of the pot danced to the rhythm of the steam

The firewood burning slowly, releasing smoke in different directions

As the flames devour it

We would bend over from time to time to blow the fire  and stoke the embers

Wiping the smoke tears from our eyes as we salivate

You couldn’t be caught too near the pot or peeping into it !

Long throat !

As soon as the meal was ready,

 It would announce it with the slight smell of burning

Jollof rice !

We would sit in a circle, scantily clad, spoons in our hands

Brothers, sisters and cousins

Mumsie would emerge from the house with a large wooden spoon

Open the pot and stir its content releasing the heat and aroma

As our eyes followed her movement

She would stir again, pat the large spoon on her left palm

And bring it to her lips to taste

Then nod in approval

Sunday Lunch was ready

Jollof rice !

She would take the hot pot off the fire with her bare hands

Place it on the floor

Once again the  smell  of the burning  jollof at the bottom of the pot

Would hit our nostrils as we wait patiently still salivating

She would lay out the plates on the floor

Dish for Papa first and serve him

With the largest piece of meat or fish

Ours would be dished  into a large bowl

Where we would  all eat in unity from that same bowl

Jollof rice !

Carefully she would dish out for the rest of the family

Before putting out the pot for washsing and the chickens

In a flash we would attack the pot like foraging chickens

Our spoons reaching for the bottom of the pot

Yes ! The slightly burnt part

We would scrape away, digging into the sticky bottom with our spoons

And then to our lips

When the scoop of the spoon seemed too little

We would discard and dig in with our bare hands

Tasting the grinding stone and pot in the jollof rice

Just like we taste the mortar and pestle in her pounded yam

Chewing and licking our fingers loudly

That is usually the tastiest part of jollof rice !



7 thoughts on “Jollof Rice” by OLUNOSEN a.k.a #SimpleEsanGirl (@ooluss)

  1. lovely and well composed from the recipe to the preparation down to the eating. it brings back memories………… sunday sunday jollof rice after church service. God bless my mother for those good old days.

  2. I was just discussing on @dees-hive post that Jollof rice is a very serious matter and this is an ode to that lol well done. I love Jollof rice so much, I cant even discuss how much because I will start getting hungry. I only have 2 corrections though. 1 its Pre boiling not per boiling and 2 The picture that was chosen for the post looks like chinese fried rice and not like our beloved Jollof rice. :-)

  3. Hi, Nice piece. @ivie9ja, Parboil (not per boil) is right and it’s pre cook (not pre boil) and yes that picture doesn’t capture what is described.

  4. hmmmmmm… jollof rice.. nice one… love your use of imagery

  5. @ivie9ja , @nancy, @obiink. Thanks for your comments and corrections. With regards to the picture , I didn’t put it there ooo, I believe the editors did after reading ! Abeg make una no vex !

  6. @nancy you’re right i was trying to correct the per so that the term would still sound like a verb but my correction was still incorrect though.

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