I work in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, which is the epicenter of the oilfield in this country. It’s also where most of the shootings, kidnappings, and other militant related activities take place. To say it’s unpleasant would be an understatement. I get up at 5am (11pm MBM time), have my morning chat with MBM on Skype, leave for work at 7am, work from 7:30 – 4:30, and return back to my apartment usually by 5pm. After that, it’s another phone call to MBM, 45min on the elliptical machine, shower, dinner, one final goodnight (for me) call, and off to sleep. Rinse and repeat the next day. We have to travel to and from work in bulletproof vehicles flanked by heavily armed mobile policemen, MOPOL for short. Needless to say, without the internet & Skype this job would be next to impossible for personal reasons alone. Being able to chat with the family back home is what makes it tolerable.
Now I guess I’ll get to the boring part about the food (I’m only kidding foodie folks). Nigerians eat things that often smell so horrible and look so unappetizing that I often lose any desire to eat when I see it. The foulest smelling thing I have encountered so far is their fish. Our office personnel often bring it in for lunch and heat it up in the microwave. Our small coffee / kitchen area will then reek of the most awful smell you can imagine. It’s usually served on a bed of heavily seasoned rice. The whole dish looks and smells disgusting. I’m actually getting nauseous just thinking about it!
They are also known for their wide varieties of pepper soup. I have not and will not try this particular dish either. It is of course some type of soup with some type of meat and lots of peppers. The meat can be fish, goat, chicken, beef, or any other living creature they can get their hands on including DOGS! Dog pepper soup even has its’ own name… 404 Pepper Soup. If you're intrigued about the concept of 404 Pepper Soup you can read more about it here. There are no pictures (thank goodness) but they do describe many details you probably don’t want to know so proceed with caution.
Now that you know what I don’t eat (and there too many more to name) let me tell you what I do eat. I have a cook / house cleaner that prepares my meals daily and goes shopping for me once a week. He was trained by a good friend of mine who just so happens to be a full-blown coonass from South Louisiana. Louisiana is where I used to call home so my cook, Bruno from Benin, fits right in.
When I first got here, he prepared different dishes all the time. Spaghetti, pasta salads, grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, stuffed cabbage leaves, you name it, he can make it – Cajun style! However, since I’ve met MBM and her extravagant ways of cooking I’ve blown up like the Pillsbury Doughboy so I’m trying to eat healthy while I’m here. Most of the time it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. My diet this particular hitch consists of oatmeal in the morning, whatever Bruno cooks for lunch, and vegetable soup with one boiled egg (protein) for dinner (picture of the soup below). Everything is homemade. Even the chickens have to be deboned after they are purchased as deboned chickens are hard to come by and very expensive when you do.
Ok, so I think I need to end this now. I don’t want to get a butt-chewin’ from MBM for rambling on and on and on. Clearly this is the longest post ever on GabesBabyMomma so she now has something to work towards.
I hope you all enjoyed my ramblings and continue to visit MBM on the web as often as possible. She really enjoys knowing that you all are out there, reading her cooking & baking ideas, and sharing your ideas and opinions in return. If you’re really bored, you can check my corner of the internet located here.
My Daily Dose of
Pepper Vegetable Soup