Femi Ajayi's Outlook

Yeti is an example of what undiluted African woman is made of. Any African woman behaving outside the real African norms is a cultural outcast and should be reminded of her culture. Such positive innovations like Yeti's would take some of them out of the fake life they designed for themselves without adequate education.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dr. Femi Ajayi


hen we talk about delicious food, I doubt if there is a living human being that would not start salivating when the smell of good cooking fill the air. The type of food individuals love to eat depends on their cultural food orientation; or how scrumptious the food is. "Food is to culture as spirituality is to religion. Food is the heart and soul of any culture and Africa is full of it."

Discrimination against a type of food could be medical in nature due to body biology. Even within a culture, not every food is good for every citizens of the community. So there is an atom of discrimination in every human being.

China has developed its food products to the taste of most people around the globe at different Chinese Restaurants all over the world. People love the taste of Chinese Rice which is cooked in variety of ways.

America is famous for its Pizza, Hamburger, KFC Chicken, quick, but 'junk-food' which tally with part of American ways of life. A typical American would eat his breakfast and lunch, for lack of enough time, in the car, because 'Time is Money'. In some culture, eating in the car could be a taboo and would be frown at. For dinner you would found Americans eating at Mexican, Italian, Japanese restaurants, Peking Gardens at the expense of the less publicized, or for lack of knowledge of African Cuisine.

Initially Africans had planned to go abroad for some Education and return to their countries. While finding it more difficult to return to their native countries, Africans have decided to make home at 'home', introducing their tropical food into their communities. At every social gatherings Africans are entertained with variety of African menu such as Fufu, Amala, Eba, depending on the social gatherings you are attending.

My first experience in the USA was when a Good Samaritan picked me up at the New York JFK Airport in the early eighties, and treated me to hot pounded yam with Egunsi soup without the sound of the pounding yam. When I got to Edmond, Oklahoma, with my friend, Kayode, I related my experience to him and he made another mockery of my ignorance. That was all right with me then.

Africans, Nigerians in particular, have revolutionalized their food menu with the arrival of tropical food items across USA. Nigerians could decide not to eat any junk food, or abandon Japanese, Italian, Mexican restaurants for their own African cuisine. Tropical markets are located around places and a couple of African cuisines. You can dine and wine with your fellow Africans and friends of Africans, talk about politics and even watch NTA in some African Restaurants.

When you are looking for an innovation, your first stop should be with real professional African women. You should be very careful not to stumble into some desperate African women with some baseless and fake technology titles of MSCE, CNA, and CCNA etc whose goal would be to see how they could bite you and blow some cool air into the wound so as not to feel the pain, which we found in every community. When it comes to domestic responsibilities like cooking, some women would not make a pass mark. You would prefer to go back and eat just some slice of bread without mayonnaise. Talking about child rearing, domestic work, you would ponder what type of domestic orientation such women had.

Realistically what you found in real professional African woman is the combination of respect, humility, motherly caring, good nurturing for their husbands, gook cooking, and very pious. I tell you, if an African woman does not know how to cook good food, her other responsibilities would be scored below average.

Among the African professionals in my community are Lawyers, Medical Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Broadcasters, Actresses, Writers, Traffic Engineers, Pharmacists, Educators, Social Workers to mention a few. Yetunde Ezeanii, nee Olagbende, simply called Yeti, a Pharmacist, is one of such typical traditional and natural African professional woman in my community and a strong member of my Church. Each time we met at Church it is "Good day Sir". "How are you Sir?" just like her Mom and the rest of her family members, displaying excellent home training. Such greetings always make me feel that my jaw is not strong enough to break bones. Nonetheless, my wife naturally refers to me publicly as "Honey", sometimes "Daddy", with "Sir". So regardless how anyone greets me publicly is a replica of how my wife portrays me.

In addition to her Pharmacy profession, Yeti is reaching out to the lovers of African food through her AfroFoodTV program. She made a comeback request to link with www.nigeriaworld.com, through the [email protected] I took my time to listen to her and later visited her website.

While surfing on her website, watching the video clips on the site, I placed a camaraderie call to extol her efforts in promoting African food, Peri Peri, the adaptation of African continent cuisine. What I discovered on her website is worth sharing with my readers, especially those that do not know how to cook African food. She has video clips for each food types that anyone would like to taste.

Inquiring about her interest, how she gets funded, her drive, she is a real well cultured African woman. Her inspiration comes from a "hardworking mother with baby at her back, pounding food for dinner", which reminded her of her childhood.

She took interest in cooking from her Mom who is a dietician and caterer, at the age of six. I believe Yeti's husband would seldom eat out, just like me, not to mess up his appetite in eating his wife's cooking. Her earliest memories are of her mother in the kitchen preparing mouthwatering dishes both for her family and work. She learned how to cook at a very early age and often helped feed her large family when her mother was not available.

She is not been blinded by her elite profession and ignore her culture. She is not sightless by her talents to go against the societal norm. She does not get carried away by her exquisiteness to disrespect whosoever comes across, regardless. She loves Children, volunteering her time for the Children and Youth programs at the Church, is fascinating. She never sees herself as someone that should be given any special treatment. Not a title chaser. She displays good practical home training.

Yeti loves to cook and what she does on the website is free lecture on African food preparation. Why she is doing this despite her Pharmacy profession, I inquired. "I started Afrofoodtv because I saw a need for proper education in the preparation of African cuisine with not only African ingredients but also locally available ingredients for all families."

She went on,

"I found that the ingredients for the food I had grown to love was not readily available. I had to learn to adapt to what was available in my local grocery stores. I also noticed a lack of representation of African cuisine on mainstream media. This is what has been a driving force for me. It is my dream to change the negative perceptions and images from my beloved continent. To quote gastronome Brillat-Savarin "tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are" the knowledge of our food tells a story of how we were colonized and by whom. It also shows how sophisticated our palates are contrary to the information being portrayed by the mass media."

Afrofoodtv offers you the rudimentary preparation of African food, courtesy of Yetunde Ezeanii. Yeti says what AfroFoodTV offers is

"More than just a recipe resource, Afrofoodtv.com is quickly becoming a brand in itself. With no other resource in mass media representing African cooking, afrofoodtv is stepping up to fulfill this underserved niche. From recipe databases' to online streaming instructional videos, afrofoodtv is a site designed to inspire creativity in viewers' kitchens and self-empowerment in their lives while representing the Africa in a positive way. It also provides little bits of handy information, tools, tips and pantry items, useable tools to perfect your cooking technique."

Watching some of AfroFoodTV video clips with my wife, saliva almost messed up my dress revitalizing my memory from Madam's cooking one of my favorites. Some of the African food types demonstrated on the AfroFoodTV website are sampled from East, West, North and South Africa as shown in the picture below. Frango Piri Piri from East Africa is Chicken marinated and cooked in a Mozambican hot and spice sauce. There is the South African meatloaf with an egg based topping called Bobotie. While the North Africa Chicken and Honey Apricot is a great meal to have anytime of the day. And the West Africa is the Fried Rice, cooked with a rich butter sauce.

The pictures above are tempting enough for someone to want to try a piece of the meals. How you cook such food items, the time it takes to cook each of them are explained on the video clips on her website.

Recipes on some of the African food are available on the website for African Fried Rice, Cameroonian Ndole, Jollof Rice, Ewa Agonyi, Yellow Rice, and Ugali to mention a few for staple food. For stews, are Chicken Stew, Garden Egg stew and African Salsa. Soups include Egusi, Sukuma Wiki, Efo Riro, Cameroonian Ndole. For Chicken Stew are Yassa Poulet, Doro Wot, Chicken Apricots/Honey. On Fish is Ras Al Hanout Tilapia. Meat category is Suya, Lamp Tagine and Bobotie. Some Snacks are chinchin, meat pies, cupcake tower, scotch eggs, chapatti, samosa, and ntochi bread. Side food includes Akara, akamu (pap), Nigerians Fried Eggs, and African Salsa.

There are couple of places in metro Atlanta where someone could taste some of these African foods? According to Charles Okeke, the Chef Manager of the Palms Restaurant, "I saw a great need for an African restaurant because there was no place that offered delicious home cooking I had a craving for." Okeke is a chef at the Palms Restaurant with specialties in eastern Nigerian dishes, located at 3807 Main Street, College Park, Georgia. It opens Monday through Friday from 11:00am through 9:00pm, and Saturday from 2:00pm to 9:00pm. 404-305-9090. Charles Okeke's favorite might be the Edikang Ikong, an Eastern Nigerian Vegetable Soup.

Another African Cuisine is the Homestead Restaurant serving Ghanaian Community. According to Chef Gloria Rose Adusei, the Chef Manager, "Cooking most African food requires slow cooking over low to medium heat to achieve the proper taste and texture." Abena Homestead restaurant has been part of the African restaurant landscape for several years, and would give you the taste of plantains which can be eaten for any meal in West Africa especially. Corn has been on the hall marks of African's cuisine since introduced into the continent in the 16th Century. Homestead restaurant is located at 4841 Old National Highway, College Park, Georgia opens from Monday through Saturday12:00pm to 8:00pm. 678-235-0379.

Yeti is an example of what undiluted African woman is made of. Any African woman behaving outside the real African norms is a cultural outcast and should be reminded of her culture. Such positive innovations like Yeti's would take some of them out of the fake life they designed for themselves without adequate education. They could redefine their mission on earth and be the good woman that produces good leaders of tomorrow, not making life more difficult for themselves and whomsoever they come across with, manipulating anything they could grab, 'Jack of all trades and Masters of NONE'. There are very decent and lucrative things African women could engage their life with.

With Yeti's Bachelors of Pharmacy from Long Island University, and Masters of Business Administration from Florida Metropolitan University, her work with Afrofoodtv is showcasing African culinary diversity, hosting an online television show which focuses on African food. Afrofoodtv also have a magazine on the site that addresses several culinary issues from different culinary tools to a showcase on local chefs that continue the tradition of African cooking abroad.

Yeti want to use her new invention to show the world that Africa is filled with very kind and loving people with a wealth of culture that is incomparable to any other place in the world, and has one of the most diverse and sophisticated cuisines in the world. "It is our goal to make Afrofoodtv.com the premier online destination for African food and lifestyle programming. I also hope to bring afrofoodtv to the mainstream media by hosting a show either on food network or PBS. A cookbook is also in the works."

You can reach Afrofoodtv at 770-783-1655, or toll free at 1-866-866-0304, or log on to www.Afrofoodtv.com, or e-mail [email protected]

Yeti, we love your show.