Food and manners

A couple of days ago, I posted a picture of my homemade supper on face book with the following description:

Atap (sorghum and cassava meal) and akiring (smoked beef) na esudud (in groundnuts sauce) cooked Teso style. Supper is ready.

The response was amazing and generally of affirmation from Iteso (the people) that are living in Uganda and in the Diaspora; and from others non-Iteso and also non-Ugandan. A gross total of 100 likes. The comments were awesome – they ranged in different variations of “am salivating”; “I miss home food”; “Woooooow”, etc.

But then there were a couple of comments which stopped me in my reading trucks – aaaah kind of thing. One commenter asked “wat z dat?” (copied verbatim). Fact is am a cultural anthropologist and I easily take offense by those who disrespect other peoples’ languages.

Be that as it may, I wondered about the mental facilities of the man who asked such a question. Considering he was not the first to comment and that there were other comments already made, which clearly explained what the post was about, why did he have to ask that question?

Then another man – etesot (an individual male from among Iteso), I presumed, for his comment was in Ateso (the language) – commented as follows: “esil itap ngin. Tekei!!!!” meaning: “that atap is ugly. Gosh!!!!”

Yes, I was totally shocked by his ill-manners. I was raised in Teso culture which finds public criticism of another’s food absolutely unacceptable. That this man thought it was okay for him to post his negative views of my food on a public forum such as face book leaves me dumbfounded.

Where do his ill-manners come from? Is he a father? Is he an uncle? What values is he teaching the next generation that is in contact with him? I wondered. Most importantly and sadly I thought how so deeply some are negatively elitist and culturally dislocated.

Or is it perhaps that whole PhD symdrome thing – you know the Pull her Down one?

3 responses to “Food and manners”

  1. I have been wondering of late at how Iteso elders are ale to read small inscriptions and yet our generation uses glasses. The secret is in millet and organically grown fruits: aimuria, emiebe, aiduduma, etc. This is how each our tribe is. How can anyone say esil atap when he she knows that it is the source of life; it is what gave meaning to our people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A man whose utterance is “esil itap ngin. Tekei!!!!” meaning: “that atap is ugly, is not going to allow his children to eat atap or any other African nutritious meal just because it is not as white as polished and bleached rice. And in so doing, denies them a heathy and balanced nutrition.

    Because of the serious nature of this topic, Norah, I hope you will post this extra long comment.
    Ugandans rate increase of heart diseases, diabetes and the like is skyrocketing because of people with Mr. Atap Hater’s mentality.

    Unfortunately we have many Ugandans (and Africans for that matter) like this poor ignorant tap hater that thinks looks are everything. (I wouldn’t be surprised that his kind is the same that bleach their dark skin to lighten it, using products with toxic chemicals such as mercury just because they think black is ugly, but that is for another day)

    To make matters worse, we find many ignorant Atap Haters all around us even in administration. They beg and await on Muzungu to come and educate the nation on how to eat right, rather than accept lessons from their grand and great grand parents on how to eat to live.

    Case in point:

    Imagine some muzungu coming from overseas to tell our educated law makers about passing policies that take us back to the benefits of our traditional ways of our grand and great grand parents of fermented foods/milk to improve our health –

    For the city kids or those who have never eaten or look down upon fermented milk, eshabwe or other traditional fermented foods will have to either agree that their great grand parents were right or disagree with the following findings –

    Whichever the case, how ironic it is that every time a scientist comes up with some discovery and claims that it is better than our traditional foods, soon or later the truth comes to bit them. We were told our ghee was unhealthy because it contained too much saturated fat and saturated fat was bad. So man made oils like margarine and Kimbo with less saturated fats were promoted as much healthier, now it turns out that our great grand parents knew better –

    An Atap hater is a person with many complications and conflicts. He/She will line up to pay more of his/her hard earned money to buy a unhealthy meal –

    and then turn around and line up for treatment and pay more money!

    Again, Atap haters should know that they are doing themselves more harm than they may know because food is not judged by looks. And what you don’t know may hurt you.

    Lead researcher Stephen O’Keefe said: “These findings are really very good news. In just two weeks, a change in diet from a Westernized composition to a traditional African high-fibre, low-fat diet reduced these biomarkers of cancer risk.”

    What do obesity, constipation, heart disease, some common cancers, tooth decay and diabetes have in common? –

    And now Dr. Dwight Lundell’s new findings to re-confirm what Dr. Trowell had concluded over half a century a go:

    Again, Norah, thanks for enlightening some of our educated and semi-educated individuals with colonial mentality that equate tradition with backwardness. Could you please suggest to our government leaders and law makers to impose higher taxes on any foods that are proven to have higher unhealthy effects to a society, because it is costly to tax payers as a whole in medical expenditures and yet those poisoning the society ripe high profits which are not even banked in our local banks!

    International Fast food restaurants should also be required to abide by the same high standards in Uganda as they do in their home country of origin (equal human rights, no double standards), such as NO Trans Fats or Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils. When the FDA (USA) ruled that trans fat is not “generally recognized as safe” for use in human food, it didn’t say except for use in human food in Uganda! –


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