Ghana and Food – Dr Albert K. Mensah

Food is anything in the form of liquid or solid usually taken in for growth, development, function of vital life processes and healthy performance of essential metabolic activities.

In Ghana, we are very hospitable people, who accommodate foreign people and are so nice to them!

And one thing, very characteristic of the Ghanaian society is great food, not only great in terms of quantity and quality, but sumptuously tantalising!

In Ghana, every meal preparation is a celebration as we expend so much time and energy in preparing only one meal! Our meals take so much time to cook!

But that in itself isn’t bad because we want our food to taste awesome at the end! Our foods taste great, and Ghana, arguably, has the best meals in the world!

Examples among these include, cooking and preparing fufu – the processes involved are lengthy, cumbersome, needs attention and energy consuming!

The process of preparing fufu needs a whole ‘society’ at place to be able to finish on time.

Pounding fufu

These are the processes: there’s usually a girl/woman who sits and does the driving/turning, there is a muscular-built boy/man (not always the case though) who stands and does the pounding, there’s a mortar, a pestle mostly carved from wood, there’s water beside to soften the fufu and the texture, there are boys/girls helping to clean the chores and helping in the kitchen!

Lady preparing fufu

Then comes the soup making stage- the time spent on this depends on the type of soup (light/pepper soup, palm soup, peanut/groundnut soup, cocoyam leaves soup, mixture of palm and groundnut soup, among others).

Palmnut soup
Groundnut soup

Light/pepper soup is relatively simpler and faster compared to groundnut/peanut/palm soup!

Growing up in a peri-urban Ghana, your role in the food/meal preparation will determine your portion and whether you will be given food or not, because they want everyone to participate and contribute his/her quota!

For instance, you will not be served your part of the meal of fufu if you did not contribute in pounding!

I remember I used to go play football, come home very hungry and your cooked cassava are left for you to come pound!

I most often ended up eating the cooked cassava with the soup – very painful thing!

But there are some few interesting things worth mentioning about fufu in Ghana:

  1. We eat with our hands. You can choose to eat with a spoon but who does this!
  2. We eat together at times in a very big bowl, surrounded by group of two, three, four, five, or more depending on the gathering and what they choose.
  3. We eat with our one hands – solely the right
  4. We do not touch meat/food with the left hand. Well, I have observed in other cultures outside Ghana, where meal is eaten or touched with both hands.
  5. When we touch or cut the meat, we do so carefully with our hands because we get afraid of the spills unto our shirts.
  6. We eat everything and chew our bones, we don’t care! I have observed other cultures outside Ghana don’t eat the bones.
  7. There are eateries, often referred to as Chop Bars, where fufu is made and sold commercially. They help a lot, both married and the unmarried!
  8. Fufu is best served and eaten in earthenware bowl called ‘Asanka’.
  9. Fufu made at home is mostly done on Saturday/Sunday with the family!
  10. We eat fufu so early on the Saturday/Sunday, sometimes by 3/4 pm as supper!
  11. On top of all these, Ghanaian men cook great meals and in the whole world, we make great husbands!

If you read this post, know that it was written by AK Mensah, at the time when the clock changed back to one-hour late in Central European Winter Time, when he was so hungry upon seeing the picture below!

Cheers to a better society, where food is found on everyone’s table and no one goes to bed hungry!

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