Saturday 5 February 2011

Thought Picnic: Night cooking to self-exorcism

A person of the night

Being more of a nocturnal person, stranger things have happened in the night than should be the case in the lives of many others.

In fact, I have the inkling that if people had dreamt these things and shared those dreams with people of a certain persuasion and not a few, an exorcism would be ordered; based on contrived and tenuous links with some ethereal interactions with the spirit and God help them help themselves.

My nights start early and are somewhat regimented around the 11th hour, the hour of pills; it behoves me to have abstained from foods two hours either side of taking my pills else I end up with a rather stoned feeling through the night.

Slight thrills of night pills

I have a physiology that can never like drugs, the eerie feeling, the light-headedness and that state of suspended animation of being between consciousness and the subconscious pushing my mind into a dreamy phase of lacking control over my imagination that takes flight to places angels fear to tread; it is a world I dread.

Taking food in that 4-hour window especially those that have the taste-enhancing ingredient of fat take me to that dreadful land and it has meant that the pill-time switch to the witching hour if I have succumbed to hunger pangs and ingested something later than 9:00 PM – I apparently do not have a set time for meals and that creates a bit of chaos in itself.

Ingestion is the easy part, incubation is worse, the incubation of thoughts, thoughts of what I would like to have for a meal and what it takes to make it.

A night of long beans

The other day it was moin-moin (bean pudding cakes – recipe provided courtesy of Adefunke’s defunct blog), I had to soak a bag of split black eyed beans in water for hours, the optimum being 8, I think they were soaked for close to 11.

The dried fish came out of the freezer and that was soaked in hot water, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, boiled eggs, palm oil and species all came together in the journey to satisfy a yearning.

After blending in the peppers, tomatoes and onions into the beans, the other condiments were stirred into the mix and the first part poured into a baking dish, covered with foil and left to bake for an hour.

Then I found three small ramekins and poured the rest of the mix into them, placed the ramekins in a steaming pot and steamed the mix for about an hour.

After which I had the opportunity to savour my moin-moin in large cubic portions cut out of the baking dish or from one of the ramekins.

Stewing in the night

Then again, as I rummaged through the freezer, I found some frozen cooked meats and put the bag in the fridge for defrosting, it was well after 1:00AM when I put chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions and stock cubes in the blender – I was about to make some stew.

In 90 minutes, it was all ready and I was just having the stew as if I was having soup, satisfying a craving for tastes and food that just overwhelm you at unusual times of the day.

For those who know, imagine if you told your African-initiated church priest that you dreamt of cooking and eating at night or in my somnambulist wake doing the same – it would be Psalm 119; read 119 times into a cup of water that you have to throw away thrice – talk about hard-labour self-exorcism.

[Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses.]

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