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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ode to fufu

I'm going to tell you a story.
I remember when my mother used to serve us perfectly kneaded mashed potatoes as fufu. It was in a huge can and she would cut a side of the can open and out will pour the powdered mashed potatoes. She would add water and knead it with a wooden stick and serve with the choice soup of the day. As a kid, I wouldn't eat the fufu unless she cut it into smaller pieces that made it easier to eat. I loved the stuff.
Come mid 90's, immigrant Ghanaians didn't have to eat mashed potatoes anymore because fufu now had a closer counterpart. It came in flavors of cocoyam and plantain and now it came in a box.

It was as close to fufu you were going to get in America. I grew up on both types of fufu and can still recall my shock when I first visited Ghana in '02 and learned that our fufu wasn't real fufu...

Real fufu takes time and preparation. 

Real fufu is made from freshly boiled plantain, cassava, and cocoyam. 

Real fufu is real manual labor. 

Real fufu is pounded into a soft mound with the help of a pestle, mortar, and two humans

Real fufu is delicious. 

I soon realized why my mother had to have her fufu every night back home in the States. I realized that it was the closest she can get to home; the comfort of swallowing a soft mound of mashed potatoes coupled with Jif peanut butter soup was as close as she was going to get to this revered favorite dish to the Akan (mostly, Asante) people. I never understood the joy and pleasure of eating fufu until my current stay in Ghana.

It's all I want. I actually salivate at the sound of the pounding and the aroma of the soup. I have students who come to pound fufu for me on the weekends and yes, I can make soup now:) The soup with fufu in the last image was made by moi! The only sad part is that fufu cannot be saved for the next day so you make enough to go around. What usually happens is that the soup I make runs out the same day and I lose about $10 dollars of meat... but that's okay.

My mother warned me about eating real fufu because she was wary of how it is prepared since they use fresh water to help form the fufu. I fixed this possible issue by making sure my students use bottled water and keep their hands clean. I've eaten fufu at home, at my grandparent's home, and even at (clean) chop bars. Haven't gotten sick once.

Just fat, full, and satisfied.

Do you have a fufu story?


Anonymous said...

Love this ode to fufu! I love fufu, but my hips and thighs does not. Keep blogging it!

Ama Kyei said...

@ Janet- lol, strangely enough my hips and thighs haven't reacted to the change in diet yet (*knocks on wood*). You keep blogging/reading too! xox

The New Ghanaian said...

Send us some, there was a time when we went to inter-co (Intercolleges competition) and there was a scuffle between us(Presec) and Accra Academy students. In the heat of things, and under the guise of chop bar workers, a few of my friends swapped their shirts for a safe haven to pound fufu, in the hopes of a well deserved meal afterwards....fufu stories? Can go on for days!

Ama Kyei said...

@ TNG- Love it!

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