So it’s lunch time at work, and as you might know from previous blogs, I rarely, if ever, do ‘Oyinbo‘ sandwiches for lunch. Personally I just don’t think it’s natural that you work all day in the office only for you to reward yourself with a sandwich!

So, like any sound-minded Nigerian, I had brought in some left overs from the previous night into work. It was rice with fried fish with ‘efo‘ (spinach) laced with  ‘eruu‘ and ‘paanla‘. I mean, how can you not like that combination? I bunged it into the microwave and went away to get something. On returning, my colleagues in our dining room section, which also doubles up as a photo-studio, were wondering “what is that obnoxious  smell?” “What’s that smell?“, kei?? Before I could open my mouth to explain and educate these culinary neanderthals what that glorious aroma was, one of them had the check to describe the smell as “dog-food!” Yeye boy! This coming from a man that had a repugnant smelling cheese sandwich for lunch! Typical.

As if all that ribbing wasn’t enough from my friends, the ‘stench’ of the fried fish had filtered into other departments and people were complaining.  This is a staff email that a ‘shakara’manager sent out:

SUBJECT: Kitchen Etiquette

Hi Everyone,

Can I kindly ask that if you have a strong smelling lunch like fish or such like, can you rinse the plate before putting it in the dish washer. The whole of the lower ground floor staff would greatly appreciate it.

The whole of the breakout area is humming of a very strong fishy smell.

Many thanks,

 ****    *******

This was my response:

“Ogbeni, that would be my strong smelling fish, but as a rule, I always wash my dishes by hand and take my plate home…

I have to admit that it was powerful, so I’ve had to watch out what I bring in that might offend people’s nostril sensibilities.  🙂


10 thoughts on “Culinary neanderthals

  1. First!!

    Now to my comment: I can’t tell you how many times this has happened at my job, but the funny thing is I make my colleagues taste the food and then they end up loving it an begging for more. To the ‘shakara’ managers, just tell them to bug off.

  2. Your post reminds me of the naija store around my way. The naija store opened right next to a fabric store. Within the year of the naija store opening, the fabric store closed down. The story is that the fabric store couldn’t stand the smell of naija food ingredients getting in their fabric. Thinking about it makes me laugh… our food smells, and to us the smell makes us salivate, to an innocent non-nigerian, it’s holy hell…

  3. The iru experience happened to me in my flat and no one could use the kitchen for a whole day. I feigned ignorance but I felt quite sorry for them because I know the unique smell can be offensive to the ‘untrained’ nostrils.

    However, I never complain when they cook meals…so what?

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