Food: A Tool for a Memorable Nigerian Event

by on October 29, 2014

Sinmi Makinde

So, I heard that you went for that your friend’s wedding ceremony… but are you really sure you went for the ceremony itself or you went just to fill your tummy? I got you there! *mischievous grin*. You indeed went for the food but you just had to go to the church so that people won’t suspect you intent.

In Nigeria, no matter the ceremony being done, whether it be wedding or burial or child naming or house warming, it always boils down to the food. If the food is not served in an occasion, such occasion is not complete. The success of an occasion is not how beautiful the music is, how cool the decoration is, how flashy the cars which were used are…but how delicious the food is. Funny you would say, but that’s the truth. Events are also not left out. If you want people to come for your event, be it a lecture or seminar, just tell them that there would sure be refreshments. You would see that the multitude who would come would be very much.

In the Holy Bible where Jesus fed the five thousand men, he was teaching them but when he saw that they were hungry, he provided food for them. The next day, more people came just to eat food again. Before he fed them, the turn around was not much but after they were fed, there was massive increase in the turnout of people who wanted to learn at His feet but in truth, they wanted to eat.

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I went to this burial ceremony and there was this woman that was crying heavily even more than the children of the deceased that I had to ask my mum how she is to the family of the deceased which she doesn’t know. But during the entertainment of guests, I saw her consuming much which made me like wonder whether she had to refill the energy she lost while crying.

Food is always the reason why people would go to a ceremony. Once you tell someone about an event, the first question that would be asked is ‘se item sefin ma wa’ *speaking in Ibadan dialect* which means if there would be food. Some people are even experts at this that they target the time that the food would be ready before they enter the venue of the programme. I remember one time that some friends of mine were invited to a wedding ceremony but we deliberately delayed till the reception period and even went when we knew that food serving process was about to begin.

Some people are even very funny that the only time you would see them active at a point of the occasion is when it comes to the aspect of food serving. That’s when you would see their adrenaline pump up like it was meant for food serving. And the most frustrating part at this point is when you would see that your dad’s elder sister or that family member of your parents who rarely comes to your place or even had little or no contribution to the finance of the ceremony act like a boss controlling the food aspect. You would be hearing statements like “…awon alejo mi o ti jeun oo”, “e gbe ounje wa si ibi yii o”, “e b mi fi eran ti o tobi si ibi yii…abi ki ni o n se eyin eyan yii na”…and rants like that.

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The people I pity most are those occasions where professional caterers are hired and also asked to do the serving. The servers can survive and do well in corporate and English occasions but they can never succeed in occasions involving typical Yoruba people. But because it is everyone’s belief at an occasion that one must eat to his satisfaction and even if necessary must pack home in quantities more than they took originally. And even if those servers explain to the young guys and they agree, how in this world do you think they would be able to convince the old men and women! They would simply be disrespecting their elderly ones and some would even be asking questions like “don’t you have elderly ones at home ni or am I not even old enough to be your parents?” Rants like that would make the young food server soften his nerves and succumb to their requests.

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One major advantage of making the food in any occasion you organize memorable is because it increases your repute. People talk about how sweet the food in your occasion was even long after the occasion has been held. The food in your occasion serves as the reference point and standard for all other occasions that would be held in that area. And if you are to host another occasion, be sure that those who would come for the event would be double the number, if not triple of the number self. Those who you didn’t extend a hand of fellowship to would definitely come.…even those who you have never seen from Adam. So, you have to prepare for extra people and make the food extra sweet so that people would be very happy with you.

So next time you have an occasion or an event to plan, even if you have to borrow money or collect loan, make sure you not only feed people, make sure that the food is very sufficient and delicious.


*Sinmiloluwa Makinde loves to write and he tweets @sinmimakinde

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