Thanks to a certain someone and boredom I have really gotten into
watching TV! A couple of months ago I would only watch football and X Factor when its in season, but now I do marathon sessions of Hollyoaks, Eastenders, T4OTB and all sorts and its getting pretty worrying. I had to mentally restrain myself from getting into the whole The Only Way Is Essex hype! I’m like a proper telly person now, it has very much become a big part of my daily routine.
I consciously make time in the day to watch quite a number of programs these days, and I make full use of Catch Up TV on the weekends when I miss any of these programs during the week. One program I never miss is Come Dine With Me!. Love Dave Lamb‘s hilarious voice-over commentary – legendary!. I can do series of it all day and would not be bored and if I miss a few minutes of it, I will be flipping through from Channel 4 +1 through to E4, E4+1 and More 4 to catch up.
My love for this particular program however has nothing to do with my love for food. I am not very hard to impress when it comes to food. I would probably be scoring everyone a big fat 9 if I ever went on Come Dine With Me! But that is not to say I do not appreciate good food. I do but I do not take much delight in eating, if that makes sense. And thinking about it, I cannot figure out why I like this program so much. It must be Dave Lamb and just watching people getting pissed up whiles they cook.
Anyway, I have seen food from a wide variety of origin cooked on this program – Italian, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Thai and the list goes on and on. Dishes from every continent, well almost, and I’m yet to see any Ghanaian or even an African dish cooked on there. Well there is a £1000 at stake so I do not expect hosts to be experimenting with something they know nothing about.
So why has no Ghanaian or African dish made it into the class of well known cuisines around the world?
Why and how has Indian, Italian and Chinese dishes become so popular. I do not have to go to India to order a good curry or go to Mexico to get some good nachos. I can go to any well meaning restaurant and order pizzas, curry, chicken chow mein, nachos and gyros. But I cannot say the same for any Ghanaian/African dish. I struggle to find any Ghanaian/African cuisine that can rival any of these dishes I have mentioned in popularity. Gari, waakye, jollof, injera, xalwo. Yeah all of these sound very very unfamiliar but these African cuisines have all it takes to make it into any western restaurant.
So why do these cuisines remain unknown everywhere else other that their places of origin? This I have put down to a couple of reasons. Many African cuisines may be a bit too spicy for foreign tongues. Again we do not serve our food in a three course meal standard, we do not do starters and desserts. We have just one big meal on a plate end of! Another thing is serving dishes with all the bones still on the meat and fish.
On the first point, Levi Roots has clearly proven otherwise. His
Reggae Reggae sauce has been a hit and made it into unlikely places like JD Wetherspoon, Slug and Lettuce and Dominoes! But for all these problems there is a one word solution – ADAPTATION!
We do not have to change the way we cook our dishes in our homes but to make it to the world scene we definitely need to adapt it to the world taste. That is the secret of all of these foreign cuisines that have attained world wide popularity. These foods are tweaked to suit the local taste, wherever its been served. I have eaten curry from a typical Indian home and it tastes well different from the ones we buy from the restaurants. If only we can start tweaking our dishes here and there then our local cuisines can become attractive to many foreigners like all of the other popular cuisines.
So let the African chefs get to work. Lets get the gari next to the curry!
By Maclean Arthur