Back at home, meals like fried plantains — a sickly-sweet dish of deep fried plantains that is typically served with scrambled eggs — were common, especially for lunch or dinner. There was obviously a fair mix of more Western options in our daily food choices, but cultural food was never set aside because there’s nothing more special than partaking in and enjoying one’s cultural heritage.
Since coming to Vancouver for my studies, I had yet to taste a single spoonful of Nigerian food. It’s all down to the gloomy-rainy days, my infinite laziness to actually go out looking for any decent African restaurants as well as my total ineptitude at cooking... period. But alas one day, I decided to set aside my excuses and actually attempt making something simple enough, according to the recipe my parents texted me. No longer would I sit around and wait for my country’s delicacies to fall right into my lap like they used to — I would have to make them myself. So just like that, I set out to make myself a batch of fried plantains and hoped I would at least end up with something digestible by the end of the ordeal.
And that was pretty much it: I was done in a total of 30 minutes. I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of how it all turned out. Sure, my plantains were a bit burnt and I skipped the ‘add veggies’ part. Still, it was totally digestible and genuinely tasty. The dish makes for a really simple and awesome meal when you crave something sweet but savoury while studying for midterms.
I feel like I always took my country’s cultural foods and my family always cooking for me for granted when I was back at home. Now I’m over here in Vancouver, thousands of miles away, I find myself slightly missing all that. However, that can be a tough lesson for international students to learn sometimes: when in an unfamiliar environment, you try your best to adapt. And in a way, I achieved just that by sourcing ingredients and cooking a cultural dish on my own, without my family’s help.