“It’s amazing how food can tell a story…”
That’s the opening sentence of Jamie Oliver’s GHANA: JAMIE’S JOLLOF RICE RECIPE. And I ask myself “where is our story in this picture?. It’s no doubt attractive and appealing, but it certainly doesn’t link directly to sub-saharan Africa, let alone Ghana.
Now, I don’t have an issue with Jamie and his team adapting recipes from my country – in fact I’m honoured (and I happen to like Jamie – I think he’s cool!) My issue is changing the raw and natural aesthetics of this simple African dish to appeal to a Eurocentic society. On first (in fact, second, third and forth) glance the story for this dish looks mediterranean – not very African. Get my point?
I know you eat with your eyes, but in my culture we eat with our hands! If it’s too messy for Europeans – then you have to stay out of the (African) kitchen!
Unfortunately, as with this example of our food being adapted for a European audience to be “acceptable“, as are we Africans and people of African decent feeling pressure to lose our identity to “fit in“. From our hair to the clothes we wear, the way we speak to lack of embracing our culture…
This dish is quiet symbolic that if we don’t document our own recipes (traditions, culture etc), it will get lost in time and only the Jamie Olivers‘ will remain to tell the story – and let’s face it, his twist to Jollof rice is more of a ‘wring’ than a twist! But kudos to him for highlighting that Ghanaian Jollof rice is worthy of recognition… As one person commented on his post – “no maggi cube? or?? lol”
It really is amazing how food can tell an inaccurate story to people who wouldn’t know the wiser. Here’s a link to the original article and recipe on www.jamieoliver.com
What are some of your thoughts? Leave in comment box below.
Check out our Oliver Twist satire on Jamie Oliver’s Jollof rice twist… That’s the last free advertising we’re doing for Jamie!
UAL ACS will be hosting Caribbean cooking sessions this term, and plan to start African cooking session from January! Join us and find out more!