Tomato and Nigerians: the relationship 


If you have ever stepped foot on Nigerian soil then you know that tomato is one of our true loves. Tomato is in a one-sided relationship with Nigerians where it isn’t acknowledged to be the greatest and truest of all times that it is. 

All Nigerians read “most”, love tomato but no one loves it anymore than the Yoruba people. They eat tomatoes with everything, like everything. And then they misname it. You hear Yoruba people talk of tomato and they say pepper. Like it isn’t bad enough that you do not return my affection but you call me a name not mine? If I were tomatoes, honestly I would revolt. Anyone calling me the name of my younger brother, maybe senior? pepper, I will give you a running stomach. You go go toilet at least once in the middle of an important something. 

Tomatoes appear in a lot of foods we eat as a people. Our national honorable food party jollof requires tomatoes. The stew for our rice, yam, beans, and almost every other thing not soup if you aren’t Yoruba requires tomato. If you are eating a Yoruba meal, the soup also include tomato. It even comes in our salad and snacks. 

I would like to ask why tomato isn’t on the top list of our favorite things. Not as food, nor as fruits. As tomato I would be hella annoyed. 

A frequent place where we use tomatoes across all board is in stew. 

The most common food for Nigerians is rice and stew. If you are Igbo there is a chance you eat it every Sunday and most likely every Wednesday night too. Unlike the popular opinion, party jollof is not eaten that commonly. We definitely love our party jollof with all of our being and might but as the name implies, party jollof requires a party or you paying quality for it, if you are lucky though, the nearest bukka might sell quality jollof cheaply. You are probably more likely to be unlucky. You know, nature has a most unusual sense of humor. Why you won’t find party jollof that easily is because it requires, {maybe] firewood and charcoal and it is indeed still 21st century even in Nigeria. 

Stew on the hand requires tomato, the usual spices and a hand gifted by the gods of cooking or practice; which always make perfect to make a lovely pot of stew. There are different types of stew. Mostly based on the type of stock and protein used. 

There’s chicken stew, beef stew, goat meat stew, fish stew, ofada stew, and local stew that comes with locust bean in it, where red oil is used instead of vegetable oil, pieces of dried fish and oil soaked boiled eggs. 

By those many words I described local stew with, it is easy to know where my alliance lie. Of course there’s also all the other stews. I am a little greedy and unable to choose most time so I generally use all the stock at once. I love the many choice protein at once. 

Tomatoes the topic of this story are a part of our egg sauce and fried eggs. Our major yam and fries and co. I mean they deserve our love. They deserve to be loved right. 

And my dear Yoruba friends who eat all soups with a tomato based soup, please stop calling it pepper. Or You fit go toilet at least once in the middle of important something.

About the author

Blackie, The eternally confused.

My name is Chinenye Nsianya. And in recent times there's not so much about me to say. I loved reading. I loved walking. Now i just exist. There isn't a lot that I do that gives me joy right now. I am making a commited process and i shall update you as it goes. This is what i will be writing about. A journey of growth and self confidence.

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