Category Archives: Gastronomy

The Corn Magic

The rain season had a strong appeal to me growing up. The appeal was more than the excitement of running outdoors half-naked, feeling the raindrops pelt my skin. It was more than feeling thrilled when we avoided getting whooped for tracking mud on the floors. It was the corn that grew on talk silky stalks.

Corn. Supple, golden, hot, and moist. One staple plant that comes with the rain season.

People have different consumption preferences. Some like it boiled in salted water till tender, others prefer it grilled over hot coals, and some enjoy it cooked with other foods like rice or beans. There are many ways to enjoy it

 

An amazing fact about this produce is the potential it carries for economic growth. According to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the United States’ corn exports in 2020 were up to 1.6 billion dollars. China and Mexico export a combined value of 9.73 billion dollars in 2021.

 

This amazing crop is versatile – from adhesives to medicinal teas. Its economic importance spans from importing and exporting corn-based items like food produce, livestock feed, and everyday items.

The Naija Corn Festival 2021 was held in Lagos State. It had a panel discussion that covered topics like the sustainable development for a nation, healthy ways to eat corn as a family, and business opportunities the product provides for individuals. It was a mix of shared knowledge and fun.

An exciting part of the festival was the booths spanned from end to end with a plethora of corn delicacies; thrilling games and tons more.

This year promises to be more. Click here to sign up today!

Agritourism — we should all visit farms

Agritourism is tourism that involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. It of course comes from the term ‘agriculture’. This is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. (Hayley Stainton).

A further definition of agritourism by the North Carolina Agritourism Activity Liability Law states that it is: Any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, ranching, historic, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions.
It doesn’t necessarily have to include travelling abroad. A simple visit to a petting zoo or local farm definitely counts as agritourism!

Agritourism is a type of tourism that is increasing around the world. With the increasing popularity of niche tourism, coupled with a growth in the desire to make our travels more sustainable, it is no surprise that the agritourism industry has grown significantly in the last few years.

Agritourism is a type of experiential travel. It involves doing something on your trip or holiday, and therefore experiencing the country or destination more so (and more deeply) then if you simply visited on a relaxing holiday. More specifically, agritourism involves doing something that is related in some way to agriculture.

Here are a few examples.
  1. Wine/vineyard tours
  2. Glamping/camping
  3. Quad biking
  4. Horse riding
  5. Fruit/flower picking
  6. Animal farms parks/safari parks
  7. Wwoofing
  8. Staying in a home located on a farm
  9. Farm tours
  10. Educational visits
  11. Relaxation retreats
  12. Hunting trips
  13. Rural weddings/events
  14. Farmer’s markets
  15. Corn Mazes
  16. Bird and wildlife watching
  17. Nature centers

Agritourism comes with economic benefits for travelers and for other tourism stakeholders (farmers, ranch owners and so on). Scholars argue that it is In fact necessary for the survival of some small farms. It diversifies farmers’ income streams, meaning they are able to make money outside of their regular season. When farmers offer agritourism opportunities,  surrounding areas and local communities see an increase in people visiting or passing through. This of course means an economic boost for rural areas and is an example of a positive economic impact of tourism!

Types of Agritourism

There are typically 5 types of agritourism. The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development labelled these as:

Direct-to-consumer sales
This includes farm stands and ‘pick your own’ experiences. A farm stand is, as the name suggests, somewhere you can visit to buy produce directly from a farm. A farmers’ market is similar to this. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. A good example is Ope Farms in Abeokuta, they attend Farmers market around Dolphin estate, Lagos Nigeria and they have retail outlets as well.

Farmers Market

Agricultural education
School trips to local farms fall under this category of agritourism. You might also, as an adult, visit a farm and enjoy a guided tour where a farmer or farm assistant explains different aspects of the farming industry to you. This would be a type of agritourism as well as a type of educational tourism, although it is just a small part of agricultural education as a whole. A great example of an operator in this space is Highsoles Farm Tours, operating as Farmtour2016 on Instagram.

Hospitality
In terms of agritourism as proper tourism, e.g. something which involves travelling outside of your hometown for a holiday, this category is where it starts. From family-friendly interactive farms to relaxing adult only retreats complete with hot tubs, there are various different farm stay options across the world.

WWOOF, or the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, facilitate this globally. They connect travelers with farmers, and you can have a really affordable holiday this way. As long as you’re prepared to put the work in, that is! There are farms you can work on in Mexico, Portugal, Serbia, Myanmar and so many more incredible locations. We also have a great example in Abuja Nigeria – Almat Farms positions itself as a leisure and corporate getaway destination that allows you time away from all the bustling noise of the city life to relax, refresh and renew yourself.

Recreation
Hunting, horseback riding, meeting donkeys on the seafront… all of these are recreational types of agritourism. Whether you go on an organised hunt in a rural location or choose to ride a horse across the desert, these are types of agritourism. Hunting doesn’t just mean animals, either; you could go truffle hunting! Horseback riding is also something that is offered worldwide as a fairly standard tourist activity. Amlat Farms in Abuja also offers equestrian services.

Horse riding at Almat Farms Abuja, Nigeria

Entertainment
The final type of agritourism is entertainment. Although the above categories are entertaining in themselves, this is slightly different. The entertainment category includes hay rides, which are popular in the US especially and involve a hay-lined truck or tractor ride. Corn Festivals are also popular globally with 70 years plus of history. In 2020, a tour company named Travel Begins at Home also started the “Naija Corn Festival” as an Agritourism event to celebrate the versatility of Corn, educate Nigerians about Agritourism and increase youth participation in Farming.


Advantages of Agrotourism
Agritourism is a fantastic way for farmers to diversify their income and to make some extra cash. With increasing issues such as droughts or increased competition, farmers are often susceptible to financial loss should they have a bad season. However, agritourism can be a great way to compensate for this!

Disadvantages of Agritourism
Agritourism can have its disadvantages also. Tourists visiting farmland may have negative environmental consequences– trampling the ground or by frightening/displacing local wildlife. The introduction of agritourism can also take the attention away from traditional farm work.

Over dependence on tourism is a bit problem in many parts of the world, and it is important that farm owners do not entirely abandon their traditional methods of making money… because should something happen to discourage tourists from visiting (an illness, political unrest, a natural disaster etc.) then there would be no money coming in for the farmers. And if he has abandoned his primary assignment there will be trouble as crops don’t sprout and mature overnight save for Aaron’s rod.

After all has been said and done, Agritourism has come to stay and the earlier we adopt it mainstream the better for our nation. Then we can maximize the vast land mass we have and put sustainable food security measures in place.

According to Schumacher, “I am now fully convinced that farming and tourism create synergies, where the natural beauty of the region, its cultural richness and vibrant communities can blend with farm activities, especially when a variety of farm products are grown, and the emphasis is on biointensive farming and biodiversity”. (Henry J. Schumacher 2017)

Valentine on a Budget

The time of the month is approaching: the one lovebirds have marked and started anticipating since Mid-January.

The time of the month puts us in our best behaviors so the surprise that comes on that day is not a lack of surprise. The time of the month that isn’t a holiday, but might as well be with the fervor of energy it brings. Of course, we are talking about Valentine’s Day – the season of love.

Every year, it seems like a war is waged where packages, getaways, dinners, and gift items for Valentine’s compete to see which will be the most highly-priced. Recently, it feels like the day has become a project one has to save up for months to achieve.

But, no more! Love is meant to be expressed, and there are many budget-friendly ways to echo the words your heart feels to your loved ones, be it a significant other, close friend, or family member. 

 

Breakfast in Bed

You don’t have to be a participant in Top Chef to pull this off. Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to make. You just have to get creative with it and make splashes of red in all you do.

Heart-shaped pancakes, strawberry dips, red wine, store-bought muffins, and a love note is a step in the right direction. 

To make it more heartfelt, it would not be a bad idea to time it with your loved one’s wake-up routine. You can sneak back to bed, and watch their reaction when they see the spread waiting for them.

 

Picnic on the Beach

Recommendation: For a more romantic setup, the most preferred time is late in the evening when the glow of the tealights or candles is able to cast that haze of softness over everything.

Grab a blanket, with a spread full of your favourite dishes, and feel the salt air weave over your skin while you clink wine glasses.

The beach is the perfect location but you could use your backyard, or somewhere you have favourite memories in.

 

Dinner Date

This has to make the list. Although some dinner dates can be expensive, there are some affordable restaurants if you do the research and make reservations beforehand. 

It doesn’t have to be a Valentine-themed dinner reservation. It is, however, the perfect excuse to dress up. Wherever you choose, you get to nurture the first date feelings while you pick outfits specially for your loved one.

You can also recreate the experience at home. But make sure to dress up for it, and keep dinner lights dim to make a romantic atmosphere. 

 

Shows and Concerts

Some artists have shows, album listens, and mini-concerts curated for Valentine’s Day. It is even better when it is an artist you both love, or has a number of love songs you can hum together while you revel in the moment.

In Nigeria, John Drille, who is famed for love songs, has an album listening for Valentine’s. 

 

Personalized Gifts

You don’t have to break the bank to get gifts for your loved ones. It is the thought that counts. 

Pay more attention, and pick up hints for what he/she really loves or has wanted to get for a while; have it engraved with their initials, or simply put a smile on their face by handing it to them. Personalized gifts make for a more appreciated gift item.

 

Group Activities 

The more, the merrier…and cheaper. Many restaurants or spots offer discounts for groups. You could plan a group wine tasting, paint and sip, picnic, karaoke, and many more. The list of activities to choose from is endless.

To make it fun, everyone can invite their significant other or close friend. This keeps the number even and vibes positive. With this, it doesn’t matter where you go, you are sure to have a fun experience at a discounted rate.

It is the feeling you need to express. We show love every day, and in many ways, but take this time out this year. Tuck your kids in bed early, pamper yourself at the spa, bake something to be shared. Enjoy the season of love.

 

Ice Cream Fantasy: Where to get the best ice cream in Nigeria

Point out a child on Earth who doesn’t love the taste of ice cream, and I’ll show you a flying pig. Kids are drawn to sweet and sugary foods as an innate defense against poisonous foods which are often bitter. For many, this is a taste we never outgrow. 

According to IDFA (International Dairy Food Association), the origin of ice cream can be traced as far back as the second century BC where renowned persons like Alexander the Great, Marco Polo and even King Solomon enjoyed delicacies made of snow mixed with wine, juices, and other sweeteners. By the 17th Century, ‘cream ice’ made a regular appearance on Charles the First’s table, and in 1660 ice cream was made available for the general public. 

Ice cream, in many homes, is a treat. Children get it as a reward for being good, or on special occasions, and holidays which in turn creates a certain hype around the dessert. Many grown-ups still get a thrill when ice cream is mentioned. 

Whatever it is, we love ice cream, and here are some places in Nigeria to visit for the best ice cream.

 

Cold Stone Creamery

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Cold Stone has become one of Nigeria’s favourite with good reason. First off, it has outlets in over 15 areas across Lagos State alone. It also has outlets in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin, Calabar, and other States with its signature taste similar in all locations.

Another thing that makes the brand memorable is the number of toppings it makes available to the public. From nuts to chocolate, biscuits, fruits, and candy; Cold Stone has a wide variety of flavors and toppings to choose from. One can spend 30 minutes trying to decide on what to get. 

 

Mat-Ice

If you ever find yourself in Benin City and you fancy a bite of ice cream, you should stop at Mat-Ice. It has about 11 outlets in Benin City; you can pick a spot close to you. 

Mat-Ice was established in 1944, and it has proven to know the stuff it’s made of. Although, it serves as both a restaurant with an ice cream palour, Ice cream here is delicious. 

There is a limited number of toppings in their outlets but as consolation, you can have this creamy delight with a snack.

 

Hatlab Gelato

Gelato is kind of like an ice cream that went to Italy, and we’d have to consider if the founders of Hatlab Gelato did too with the tasty options they serve at outlets in Abuja and Lagos State. 

You can get a number of flavours and pair them seamlessly with other dessert options like marble cake slices, hot dog pretzels, and more choices. Hatlab is a stop you have to make when you find yourself in Abuja.

 

Ice Cream Factory

If you are searching for ice cream that gives a premium feel, you definitely have to visit the Ice Cream Factory outlets in Lagos. 

Ice cream has been made into art with catchy dessert scripts written on the walls backing a spread of over 20 ice cream flavours that can be paired with muffins, apple crumbles, brownies, and more.

 

SweetTooth Confectioneries

SweetTooth Confectioneries dominates Port Harcourt as one of the best dessert spots. The ambiance sets the mood for ice cream to be well salivated. With a variety of flavours, SweetTooth Confectioneries also has cake slices, macaroons, and other desserts that can be enjoyed with your preferred scoop of ice cream.

It is a spot in Port Harcourt you do not want to miss out on the experience.

Where has the best ice cream you have ever tasted?

 

6 Restaurants in Lagos to Reserve Today

The Coronavirus outbreak resulted in the lockdown of restaurants and a careful re-opening, making us think carefully about our movement to certain places. You wouldn’t want to get to a restaurant and find it filled to its maximum capacity. As people stretch their limbs to explore more after being cooped up, it is smart to ensure places you intend to visit can accommodate you. 

Another thing the pandemic did is make restaurants acclimate faster to the digital environment. Restaurants offer contactless deliveries for orders placed via online platforms, and many offer reservations to track capacity in a bid to enforce social distancing. 

While you plan a get-together with your friends for food and drinks, note these restaurants in Lagos offer online or call-in reservation options.

 

  1. Hard Rock Cafe
source: Travel Landers

If you like a mix of great cuisine, live music events, and a calming ambiance for the little ones (if you have any), Hard Rock Cafe is a perfect fit.  You can make table reservations via a contact number on their website; or make inquiries about other services they offer without being in their outlet physically.

Ease the stress of the day with Happy Hour.

 

2. Cactus 

The sweet tooth has a home in Cactus. From pastry like macaroons and croissants, ice cream in different flavors, gluten-free and vegan options to vegetarian meals, Cactus covers this all. With a great view to add to the list, this is one restaurant you should make an online reservation for before you leave your home.

 

3. Ocean Basket

source: Trip Advisor

Ocean Basket has outlets in Lagos Mainland and Island where they serve a gourmet of seafood and other Mediterranean dishes. If you don’t want to place an order for takeaway or delivery, you can always make reservations to dine in and enjoy the treats of the Sea.

 

4. The Grid Restaurant and Winery

The Grid Restaurant is a hub for African dishes. They also have a selection of continental dishes as well as an extensive drink menu. With murals depicting the Lagos environs and Nigerian Art, the ambiance is satisfactorily cozy. 

For safety reasons, The Grid Restaurant requires making reservations first. It is also open for order deliveries.

 

5. Samantha’s Bistro & Grill

source: Cassie Davies

When we talk about reservations opening doors, Samatha’s Bistro & Grill is high on this list. Her doors are open daily only by making reservations which can be done via their website. 

Meals from Nigerian, Italian, and French cuisines are prepared fresh; this gives you a wide range of options to choose from. Samantha’s Bistro & Grills also has a food delivery system.

 

6. Maison Eric Kayser

With dine-in, takeouts, and reservations available in Eric Kayser, you have the luxury of planning for a magnificent time here in whatever way you prefer. Eric Kayser is both a cafe and a restaurant and the menu spans from hot chocolate and ice cream to lasagna and other pasta dishes. It also has both indoor and outdoor dining options.

 

The Feel of Gold

The rainy season in Nigeria marks the unveiling of wealth; wealth in a form unknown to many with untapped potential. Many people do not understand the value of corn, and this is because the average Nigerian comes across this staple product in its season as boiled or grilled food options. Others might know it as part of livestock by-products, and bakers are familiar with some of its products such as cornflower and corn syrup.

But, corn is much more than food for humans and livestock. Did you know that corn is the U.S primary feed grain which accounts for more than ninety-five percent of total feed grain production and use? Or that the world’s consumption of maize exceeds a hundred and sixteen million tons yearly? 

As cited by the National Center for Biotechnology Information; United States, China, and Brazil are the top three maize-producing countries in the world, producing approximately 563 of the 717 million metric tons/year. If corn wasn’t so valuable, why do developed countries produce so much of it?

Corn has numerous industrial uses. Apart from an increase in Gross Domestic Product through corn exportation, its value to the internal economy is noteworthy. Corn is the main ingredient in the production of ethanol, which is a gasoline additive, and as the demand for fuel cannot be neglected in any country, it highlights the huge importance of corn to any nation.

Corn is processed into food and industrial products including sweeteners, starch, corn oil, baby food, beverage, adhesives, cosmetics, livestock by-products, industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol. There are so many options in these categories to be explored extensively by individuals and organizations in the creation of jobs, products, and services to achieve a stable and affluent economy. 

Gold has to go through a process of intense purification for its attractive exterior to be revealed. Corn is a natural resource better than gold because with little effort and the right moves, on the right scale, it is worth more than gold with half the purification process. It is no wonder corn is known as ‘Yellow Gold’.

How to Turn up for a Food Festival

Foodies are like different species. Apart from the obvious love for food, their courage is exhibited in their willingness to try out any dish for the experience it brings. It doesn’t matter if the person is an introvert or an extrovert; when it concerns food, a character full of enthusiasm emerges. 

Food festivals are one of the most exciting events for foodies. There is an abundance of delicacies to sample, and a plethora of like-minded people to share thoughts about taste with. It is perfect. 

This doesn’t mean if your appreciation for food is not set on the scale of overkill, you will not enjoy food festivals. Food festivals are the best places to soak up information about food and the best places to find them. You might have been pondering about the best Pizza place in your state, and you’ll hear multiple suggestions with facts to back them up at a Corn Festival. 

To get maximum pleasure out of a food festival, here are a couple of things to note:

 

  1. Come with a full wallet

Food festivals are all about food which means there are tons of stands with different delicacies. There are stands with more than one food item and others with just one item on the menu. 

Usually, the taste of food to be purchased at food festivals are top-notch because chefs and others who have been in the business for a long time get stands for the period of the festival.

Without a means to finance your adventure, you cannot enjoy it to the fullest. You need to sample a little bit of everything to take your taste buds on an exciting trip, and there is no telling which stands you simply have to go back for seconds.

 

2. Go with Company

What makes any adventure worthwhile is sharing of tales. With food festivals, tales are shared through the palate. Of course, you can tell the story of how you bumped into Tiyan Alile, but you can only scratch the surface of how that dish tasted. A person to collaborate your story makes for an intense recollection. 

Another perk of going with company is you get to cover more ground in exploring what the stands have to offer.

The best part is you can eat more. It is easier to share a bite to save funds to get other treats than single-handedly funding your food experience.

 

3. Go with a change of Shirt

Eight out of ten times, someone is guaranteed to spill a drink or bump into you with a dish in hand. Food festivals can be messy this way.

If you don’t mind walking around with a ketchup stain on your shirt, you are good to go; but, if you have to leave the event to further distances, you might feel uncomfortable.

A lot of people will not bat an eyelash while you walk around with a stain on your clothing at a food festival. This is because they understand this is a frequent hazard, but outside of the festival, it will definitely give you an unkempt aura.

 

4. Have an Open Mind

When it comes to food, nothing is set in stone; like how spicy a dish should be or what flavours are mixed. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation, and sometimes what you think is normal in flavour is not for others.

For instance, Yoruba people prefer their food so spicy you could cry if you aren’t used to it. That doesn’t mean they lack measurement skills. It is normal for them. 

Having an open mind creates room for added knowledge. It makes you curious about the ‘whys’ and this opens the door to more curious tales.

As a safety measure, when in doubt ask. If you perceive something you feel will not sit well with you, ask about it. And if you have food allergies, make sure to inquiry about the lack of the ingredient in anything before you purchase it.

 

5. Have a Laxative within reach

Some people’s stomachs are lined with steel, others are not. There are people who can eat fifteen different dishes and walk away with a belch, and others would turn green after three dishes mix up wrong in their tummies.

Food festivals are one place a variety of food is available, and one can’t always be sure of the effect of these dishes mixing up at the end of the day. To be safe, have a laxative prescribed by a doctor within reach to avoid turning a blissful experience into a disaster. 

As the Naija Corn Festival looms closer this year, foodies have marked the date on their calendar, and are ready to have an adventure like no other.

Popina fine-dining restaurant of Ebonylife place is back!

Exciting news for Lagosians as Ebonylife Place located in Victoria Island, Lagos, well known as the classy multi-purpose event venue has reopened it’s luxury dining restaurant, Popina.

Popina fine-dining restaurant is one of a kind and will continue to have the attention of gourmet lovers! It was temporarily shut down on 19th March 2020 to comply with covid 19 precautionary measures and ensure customer safety.

 

Now life is slowly returning to normal and having fewer covid-19 cases, Popina fine-dining is back to steal the show!

 

Famous visible artist, Gerald Chukwuma put together the incredible style and design of the posh restaurant. The interior has a touch of elegant foreign features and a fusion of colorful African culture. There is also an enchanting poolside terrace for those who prefer fresh air and the outdoors.

       

Gavin Blaauw who is the chief chef elaborated on the unique menu having a rich blend of French methods, Italian flavours, native ingredients, and a top-notch meal presentation. 

Now the tip of the iceberg which a lot of people do not know of yet is that there is a 50% discount on three-course meals ordered from the common menu! This offer kicked off on Saturday 22nd May 2021 and lasts for seven days. The final day for this offer will be 28th May 2021.

 

Who wouldn’t want to be present at this glamorous dining with delicious cuisines at just half the original prices? Make those reservations on time now!

 

To book and for enquiries, +2349139264355 and also connect to them via Instagram on @popina.lagos

 

Maize Pyramids in Nigeria

The groundnut pyramids used to be popular  in Kano city of  (northern Nigeria) and proudly pointed out to visitors. Today, we no longer see such and they seem to have become a thing of the past. However, the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN )has set a new goal for its member states to build Maize pyramids to ensure food security for the nation.

One of the trends in Nigeria are memes around theories on why egg has become expensive lately. Some people couldn’t understand the cause of this. Although many had been informed that the price of corn had skyrocketed, they didn’t comprehend the consequences.

Maize also known as Corn is a staple food with numerous uses, and all parts of it are useful. From its cob to its leaves; corn serves as food for man (from cereals like Cornflakes and Golden Morn to bakers produce) and its by-product serves in the production of feed for livestock (and chickens which lay eggs are among). Its many other functions result in it being referred to as ‘Yellow Gold’ in some developed countries. That is why the increase in the cost of corn caused a ripple effect in the change of price in many household and livestock items.

There is good news. Recently, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, started on moves to crash the price of corn in a bid to make it more affordable. From the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) reserves, he intends to release about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the market. 

Mr. Godwin Emefiele further plans to check critical stakeholders by working in line with government bodies in order to put a halt to the forces manipulating the market and creating artificial scarcity of the product that has caused the hike in its market price.

A fact to note about corn is that it can grow almost anywhere and it is useful not only in Nigeria. This begs the question: why is the bulk of corn used in our country imported instead of grown for home use and exportation when Nigeria has supple lands? 

In order to increase the growth of corn in Nigeria, the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has crafted the first national maize pyramid in Nigeria; an event is open for the public at the Katsina Town Ship Stadium on the 6th of May, 2021. The program kicks off at 10 am, with activities for 2021 wet season farming. Dignitaries such as the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the governor of Kebbi State, Alh. Abubakar Atiku, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is set to attend the event.

It is with this flagship program, MAAN expects the same level of commitment for corn harvest from other state chapters. 

 

My Corn Experience

Bukola says if you order food in a restaurant and there is corn-on-the-cob amongst the options, it is going to be an expensive meal. This is true. It’s almost amazing how this saple food can be transformed in a variety of ways to increase its value, and presence in dishes.

For me, corn holds a special meaning. It reminds me of rainy days and evenings spent looking over a vendor’s open cauldron of boiling water choosing the juciest corn in the lot to buy. It reminds me of cozy moments seated in the midst of my siblings munching on boiled corn all the while telling myself not to think of the regret I’ll have when it gets stuck between my teeth. 

Corn to me is warmth, and as its season approaches though I am not home with my family, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with an unexplainable joy. 

The Naija Corn Festival organized by TBAH is another reason the corn season this year holds a special appeal to me. It is more than just corn; it is me sharing the joy I derive from the food with other people, and learning more of its uses.

It’s fascinating how corn as a food is malleable. Growing up, I only ever ate boiled corn with pear (left to become tender in hot water then rubbed over in salt before eating). I couldn’t imagine any other pairing with it. Although my older brother preferred his corn ‘roasted’, we all ate corn with pear. 

During the mandatory year Nigerian youths spend in a programme called NYSC (National Youth Service Corps), I spent my time outside the state I grew up in. There, I encountered people savouring corn with coconut. At first, I couldn’t grasp how such a pairing would taste, but trying it out reminded me why you can eat a meal in one form, and still be amazed by its flavour when it is made differently. That is the beauty of food.

I became curious about other ways and with other pairings corn can be enjoyed. Some popular meals with corn as a core ingredient in Nigeria are:

Akamu/Ogi: The raw form of ogi is made from yellow or white corn. There is no Nigerian household that doesn’t know ogi. In many homes, having ogi as part of your breakfast is a Saturday tradition.

Jollof Rice and Corn: Nigeria is renowned for its smokey jollof rice recipes. An upgraded form of party jollof rice is jollof rice with corn. It is not uncommon to find sweet corn in fried rice amongst other ingredients, but with jollof rice, it unlocks a whole new flavour.

Igbagwu Oka: This is of Igbo origin. It is made with fresh corn, dried corn, spices, vegetable oil, termites then wrapped in Uma leaves and boiled.

Beans and Corn Porridge (Adalu): This delicacy is made by boiling beans and shelled corn mixed with spices and palm oil.

Corn Fufu: This is made with a mix of corn flour and cassava flour, and enjoyed with soup. It is usually made to cater to a large crowd in parties.

What corn foods have you tried out, and which is your favourite?