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11.03.2009 Feature Article

``Pummeled with laughter for kenkey``

SCORES OF years ago, when I qualified to be called a boy in the proper sense of the word, the puerile pudgy ones I met in school, were most of them from the coast, and they were “kenkey” eaters.

Kenkey doesn't need any description, not even for the foreigners staying with us. It has become such a popular dish, done pretty well by most people providing food in the hospitality branch of the economy.

Even if it is now true that cassava regularly is added, kenkey, properly done, is corn-based. It goes best with fish, and please, don't encumber me with what type of fish to best select to go with your kenkey.

But, accept the tip, and it is that, I prefer best herrings, or sardines. But, wait a minute, I am thinking of it, since recently, I had anchovies, instead of sardines, and you bet it was delicious!!

Kenkey is nice, and it has climbed up in society. Those days, lawyers and doctors, but especially lawyers, who washed down “the best of foods” with champagne, would be jeered at, if found eating something “as low as kenkey”, which was meant to fill the tummies of the “not so privileged.” Not anymore!

Where I reside in the Garden City, (which I still think it deserves to be so-called), I had continued to drive about two kilometers to buy it from a family, which I thought did the “Ga-type” of the kenkey best, until…. Sometimes, I believe in the tenet which says, “Adventurers rule the world.” Keeping that in mind, I recently stopped at a crossing, and asked two men walking down the road together, kind of politely; “hey, you there. Where do you think I could get some kenkey nearby?”

“Do you mean the Ga-type? the older man asked me. “Yes, my friend,” I replied him. Pondering just a moment, he said, “Kweku will show you.

It's just around the corner.” Both men were Fantis, a Tribe in the Central and Western Regions of our Republic, who need no introduction. Any male called Kweku, and not “Kwaku” is Fanti. So, Kweku boarded my vehicle. But, before I would engage it in “Drive”, the older man added, “You will enjoy this kenkey. The lady down there makes the best around here. Get yourself some herrings too, and you will always come back.”

He then went into a “tantrum of the loudest laughter” I have experienced in a long while. He just pummeled it into my face.

My consolation was that, he did not have a bad breath. The onus thereafter was on us, the younger man and me. It was just about half-a-kilometer, and we would be there. We had to wait a while, because, it seemed her reputation had preceded her.

About a dozen people waited for their turn. So, I got what I usually take for just two heads. Quench your curiosity. It was just like the man, a security guard, had told me moments before.

It all reminded me of an adventure in Japan some twenty years ago. I had partaken an international conference. The program provided Americans to visit to Lake Hakone , about two hours coach-journey from Tokyo .

The famous Mt. Fuji was our target too, that day. As the bus pulled into the rank of the hotel, it had only the driver on board. The automatic door pulled open in two opposite directions, and I was politely requested to enter, and so I did. Then, a Japanese lady entered the bus, and she said in good English, but with Japanese accent, “let's move”. For about half-an-hour still inside Tokyo in the early hours of the morning, I thought we were driving to pick up fifty-eight Americans, supposed to join us. “No, please”, said the lady. “The Americans had a party late into the night yesterday, they could not get up to catch the bus. So, just the three of us”. A visit to Mt. Fuji deserves coverage, and that will happen when next we come this way.

Whilst at the lake-side, everybody walked me to where I wanted to go, instead of just directing me in a mixture of Japanese and English. They would “pummel me into the face, with laughter”, when they thought they had been successful with their guidance. Japanese hospitality, Ghanaian style, you bet!.

On three working visits to Japan , in as many years, I have always “managed” to come home after 14 days, with about three kg on “my hump.” The same has been the case, when I used to visit my place of birth, where kenkey is eaten lately by doctors too.

Sushi, going with a lot of cooked rice, radish, soya-beans-source, and Japanese rice-wine, as a combination, seems to have the kenkey-fried-fish-effect, namely increase in weight.

The Japanese community in Ghana has learned to enjoy kenkey and fried fish, in honor to our culture. They love you, when they find you eating raw-fish, adding soya-source on radish, washing it down, with Japanese rice wine. Let them make more kenkey!!

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2009

This author has authored 1023 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: GhanaianChronicle

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