‘Onga Efie Aduane’ series Reclaiming the Ghanaian food palate

The 'Onga Efie Aduane' series seeks to take us back to our roots by looking at culture through the unique meals in Ghana.

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Less than two decades ago, French fries, pizza, and buckets of chicken signaled the arrival of major holidays like Christmas. During these seasons, the ‘Ampesi and Abom', Banku and pepper and the Fufu and ‘Abenkwan’ paved the way for soft drinks, confectionery, and packaged meals.

These days, however, such ‘foreign’ foods, which were often reserved for the occasional family outing have taken over the Ghanaian palate.  We have discarded indigenous dishes like Mpohonomu, Apiti, Akankye, Adibiankyinwom, Tumbani and Mpotompoto. A major reason for this trend is a change in the lifestyle of many Ghanaians. As most people move into the corporate world, they tend to have very little time on their hands to pound and roast and wrap foods in special leaves.

In restaurants, the menus are the same: pizza, chicken, Jollof, cakes and ice creams; foods that our ancestors might not even recognise. Why has it become so easy for us to abandon such an integral part of our heritage? We deprive ourselves and our children of so much nutrition and deliciousness just because we are busy and sophisticated? Rice every day at home and at work is stealing from us; we have forgotten how Ghanaian food used to taste. We have forgotten how to prepare our colourful dishes that do not only have a unique taste but also tell a unique story.

The Onga Efie Aduane Series is reminding us of the pots of good health and ‘yumminess’ that we have buried. French fries, presumably, are way cooler than Kokonte and most Ghanaians think that Kokonte and Mpotompoto are foods for ‘bush people’. Yet, anybody who has had a good bowl of Kokonte and Ebunuebunu will tell of its goodness. The Ghanaian adoption of ‘foreign’ meals perhaps wouldn’t be too much of a concern if these foods were a much healthier option. Unfortunately, these ‘cool, foreign’ dishes are mostly greasy and fatty and therefore unhealthy. It isn’t that those who patronize such foods are unaware of how unhealthy these foods are; often times such buyers are aware that that bucket of greasy chicken and the sweetened cheesecake will make them obese over time. But when they consider how stressful it is to cook fufu and Abenkwan, they settle for pizza, chicken wings, ice cream and croquettes and pray that obesity, hypertension, and diabetes do not catch up with them.

Nobody is claiming that indigenous Ghanaian foods are one hundred percent healthy at all the time, but these recipes belong to us, the ingredients are grown right here in our soil. We have a much better chance at controlling what goes into our bodies when we reclaim the heritage of Ghana’s traditional kitchen.

Bring back the Tuozaafi, Omotuo, Akple , Abobetade and Yekeyeke!  Onga’s Efie Aduane series is set to recover and maintain our Ghanaian delicacies by highlighting the various unique meals from the ten regions of Ghana.

The series will showcase easy-to-make recipes, so you really have no excuse, it is  time to learn how to cook all your favourite Ghanaian meals while you embark on a virtual journey to other regions of the country to expand your indigenous Ghanaian menu. Now, when you can prepare Adwene Nkwan and make it taste like my grandmother’s, we will know you have arrived.

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