Very few people know I’m a gourmet — even fewer know I’m a gourmand.
I made some wonderful stew three days ago — well, as wonderful as ‘wonderful’ can be if you use vegetable oil instead of palm or groundnut oil and a rice cooker instead of a pot.
I took some to my friends — Fatou and Chemika — and gave some to my suite-mate and his friend.
“Wow!” my suite-mate’s friend exclaimed. “Have you got any single Nigerian girls on campus?”
“Why?” I mean, what have single girls got to do with the rice I just gave you?
“Wouldn’t be a bad idea to date one of them so I can get this all the time.”
Two days ago, I got a knock on my door just as I plugged in my rice cooker. It was my Pakistani programmer friend, looking for somewhere to recharge his phone. He uses a Sanyo and I use a Nokia so there was no luck. All the while I was praying he’d leave.
He must have seen the rice [and pretended not to] because he installed himself on my bed and started making funny gist. I gave him some crackers and juice, all the while praying, “hurry up and go — this rice won’t be enough for two of us” — I have a very huge appetite and I hadn’t eaten all day.
I decided to take a shower, hoping to shake him off. He said he’d wait — I mean, he had nothing doing in my room! When I returned, I microwaved some stew and put some rice into bowls to take to Fatou.
“I’m taking this to Fatou,” I informed him. “I might be quite a while in her room.”
“Let’s go together,” he said. I almost lost it. Together we went up the stairs and Fatou wasn’t in so we came back down.
“K– I’ve got some rice,” I announced ‘officially.’ “Would you like to try some?”
“Sure,” he replied quickly, rolling up his sleeves. My face fell slightly. People who don’t know me say I’m always angry because I rarely smile. People who know me a little say I’m never angry because my face has the same expression all the time. People who have known me for a long time say I get angry easily, despite all appearances. This was one of such times, although my friend was too busy rolling up his sleeves and washing his hands to notice.
I got him some stew, and together we fell to. I had three boiled eggs. He picked one and I picked another while I put on Jet Li’s Fist of Legend. He kept praising my cooking prowess as he wolfed down the food.
Usually, I eat in two stages — the first an appetizer, and the second my main meal. My main meal was still in the pot. I’m a very fast eater — I don’t chew — but this guy shamed me by eating all he had when I wasn’t even halfway done.
“K– there’s some more rice in the pot…” I didn’t even finish the sentence and BANG he went off and emptied it. I was thinking I’d still got one egg left when I noticed he had an egg sitting atop his rice when he returned.
We talked for a while and then he left.
Last night I had made some rice again [Azuka don’t you ever learn!] and was working on the i55 website, trying to meet the deadline. A plate of rice was in front of my screen and I took a mouthful every now and then.
Just then my phone rang. I hardly ever have callers because I’m not a very outgoing guy. I picked it up without looking at the screen.
“Hello Arrzuka!” it was K– (notice the emphasis on the ‘r’s). “Are you sleeping?”
‘Hello K–, how’re you doing?” I said. “Errr… I’m working.”
“Good!” he said. “I’m at your door. Can you let me in?”
Damn — I was still on the appetizer! I wished I’d told him he just woke me up or refused to answer.
I let him in and he came again with absolutely no gist.
“K–,” I said softly, hoping he wouldn’t hear. “I’ve got some rice.”
He kept talking and I breathed a sigh of relief. Suddenly he rolled up his sleeves and I had a sense of foreboding.
“I see you’ve got some rice and curry,” he smiled. “May I have some?”
BANG, he was off in the direction of the pot, and I had to chase him with a plate and spoon — was he going to eat out of it with his bare hands?
Soon, he’d done justice to my main meal and after a while, he left.
Now, in secondary school, we had a set of people we called ‘staunches’ — they can smell food from afar. There’s this guy we called Obumele — he could run in from his dorm almost two hundred metres away and exclaim,”I boom chop!” 99% of the time, he was right — he always got into the right room. My ordeal with friend K– reminded me of the staunches of Fedacad.
As I type this, it’s morning and I’m eating the last of my stew in front of my screen. I’ve given out more than three quarters, lost an eighth to a staunch — I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy what I can.
Here’s to Uzo, who apparently has a workplace staunch!
I’d like to thank someone (something tells me it’s a blogger) who sent me a book on my Amazon Wishlist for my birthday. Thank you very much!
I’ve got a class now — and gee, it’s snowing!