If you’re familiar with Ghanaian cuisine, you’d appreciate just how important seasoning is to our meals — and also how the wrong kind of seasoning or too much of a particular ingredient could mess up an entire dish.
In this light, I take aim at a particular section of Ghanaian food vendors who, though relied on daily in our communities, often commit a mistake that is fast becoming a calling card for many of them: ‘chibom’ vendors!
Honestly, folks, don’t we all have that chibom — street term for ‘fried eggs’ — seller in our area infamous and loathed for putting too much salt in the eggs, never quite getting it right regardless of how often customers complain?
Well, I do, and — trust me — it can be very frustrating.
See, prompted by hunger while working last Sunday night, I decided to purchase some fried eggs and bread to fill my need. Late as it was, I could only go as far as the neighborhood’s lady-who-takes-liberties-with-salt. In an attempt to make things bearable for me — even as I anticipated the worse — I immediately went on the offensive, albeit politely.
“Please, could you go easier on the salt this time as it was a bit too much when last I bought fried eggs from you?” I requested.
“Is that so?” she asked, flashing a sheepish grin. “I’m so sorry. I’ll be extra vigilant this time.”
Her response made me relax but, in hindsight, I really shouldn’t have. Rather than keep a close eye on happenings, I was distracted — it didn’t help that my team had narrowly missed out on a league title earlier that day after a particularly grueling season-long challenge — and did little more than soak in music through my earphones while waiting for my little package to be served.
Before long, the vendor asked that question which signals the imminent delivery of said ‘package’ and excites the taste buds: “Do you want your bread toasted or otherwise?”
The treat arrived soon enough, and I headed home triumphant with a piece of happiness that, though no league title in itself, should have calmed a rumbling tummy and a grieving soul. All it took was one bite of the chibom to shatter all those illusions as — I kid you not — I bit into a crystal of salt.
A whole crystal, charley — and that was only the first of four!
It’s almost like my opening appeal sent the vendor’s ‘salting’ skills into overdrive. Of course, I forced down every single morsel — for something that cost my last GHS 2.00, I’d do anything — but each tasted like it had been seasoned with seawater, as is suggested by the look on my face even as I write this.