One of the dividends of the ‘corona holiday’ is the opportunity to bond with our families. I bet many parents have never since their children were born, had this kind of opportunity to bond with them as much as they do during this period. Nor have many spouses had such opportunity for intimacy since they got married.

For my wife and I, we are seizing it hands and legs. I cannot remember the last time we all sat at the dining table to eat together. I mean, together. So, this bright, beautiful morning early in the week, we sat to have breakfast. Breakfast for that matter! It was an opportunity to catch up on a few things as we bantered excitedly. Someone raised the issue of table manners and said it’s bad manners to talk while at meal. Others disagreed, and one of the children wondered who on earth gave us these etiquette standards? He was strongly of the opinion that it is colonial mentality. Again we debated it, breaking the very etiquette that threw up the discussion.

So I began to seriously think about it: whose standards, truly? For example, whenever I want to take my favourite ogi and home-made moinmoin, there is a waiting period when my wife assembles her delicious moinmoin skilfully wrapped in farm-fresh green leaves, steaming hot as she brings it out from the cooking pot after the warm, appetizing aroma had wafted into my gaping nostrils and I expectantly wait to assuage the sufferance and starvation endured by my famished taste buds. After this waiting period that seems like eternity, the commencement of the meal for me is to demystify the moinmoin, strip the exotically hot substance naked myself (I don’t delegate it) and descend on the leaves. This is needful because hidden in the inner recesses of the leaves are succulent pellets and granules from the main substance, which give you an endearing foretaste thereof. It would be a reprehensible desecration of the moinmoin dynasty and grave injustice to its pre-historic delicacy, to throw away the leaves. This for me is part and process of the meal, one as old as the invention of the delicious cuisine itself.

So if I come to your house or have a business dinner and moinmoin is on offer, yes I will be prim and proper and painfully shun the leaves because of ‘etiquette’ but I’d only half have enjoyed the meal, if at all. But if it’s in my own house trust me, I’d do justice squarely and your judgment won’t matter because the standard of etiquette is wholly mine, not any one else’s.



‘Femi Adekunle

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