I just saw A Touch of Spice. It was singularly sensuous: a collection of images of beautiful people; people whose hearts touch; people mired in attachment and addiction to those oils and spices that fixed a place called home in their skin - so deeply, it would never be forgotten.
I have started to unlearn some of my deep love for the many textures of meat - tendon and cartilage and marrow and kidney. It's still there, but poisoned with the idea that meat is a sirloin or a rib-eye or New York strip steak; a sanitized and standardized and very oversized and overnourishing slab of loot.
A few days ago I was starving, so I found myself at this new nearby restaurant. Actually, it's more than two years old, and I've been there maybe three times. On previous visits, I noted that I like the decor, that the passionfruit juice is mind-blowingly good, and that I doubt any true Carribean people eat such bland food as they serve there. My complaint? They don't know their sauces.
Well, if the food was tasteless a year ago, why was I back there last week?
A charming man (not the owner, who's also charming despite being a perhaps overeager businessman) made me order some juice, brought me a loaf, which I devoured, followed by a very very good and simple salad. I quickly annihilated the rice and beans; only when it was just the meat left was I calm enough to actually taste the food. The meat reminded me of suya. I have never had meat in this country that reminded me of suya before.
I bought some suya on the street near the embassy in Victoria Island last time I was in Lagos. Took some home to my brother. It's so hard to take suya home - hard to stay honest - but I love the boy. He loved the suya. I hope that means he loves me too.
The restaurant owner told me the carne asada I just enjoyed was a filet mignon, butterflied, all that crap. I don't care. I had butterflied whatever before, and it didn't taste like this. I had expensive steak before. In undergrad, a Microsoft recruiter took a bunch of us kids to dinner. I was going to stay in school to study for tests, but gave in to the pressure to be interested in a wealthier future at Microsoft. I recall that dinner for maybe ten people cost as much as a semester's meal plan at Howard. No, I don't remember the food, but it was one of those dinners at which people made a big to-do about things being butterflied.
I saw a honey-coloured insect today on my way back from the movie. Outstretched wings, elegant craned neck...I came closer and it was a cockroach. Then I thought it had too many feelers...oh! that's another one next to it. The grate they live on is labelled as covering a drain that feeds into the sea. Oh there were many cockroaches on the draincover. The first placid family of cockroaches I've seen.
O happy day!
Before the Greek Spice movie, I ate ẹba at home, with leftover ọgbonọ from a trip to Veronica's Kitchen. Before that I saw Trust the Man - my kind of film.
Today was so right. And warm. I was so happy. I hope I die on a day like today.