A dish I didn’t like as a child but like as an adult

Well that would have to be àmàlà.

It is a traditional Yoruba dish made from either cassava flour (amala láfún), yam flour (amala isu) or unripe plantain flour (amala ogede). It is also known as èlùbọ́.

Amala – yam flour

It is brown in colour and as child I recall that we ate a version with a distinctive bitter taste and smell that I found quite off putting. Yams are naturally sweet so in fact some types of amala will have a slightly sweeter taste. Speaking to my mother now, the one we had when we were little was, she suspected a mixture of different flours, which probably contributed to the slightly bitter taste.

Or maybe my tastebuds changed…?To my utter delight, as an adult, I could suddenly tolerate this food. With a good tomato stew (ọbẹ) and okra, it somehow went down a treat. It was palatable and comforting and not all as disgusting as I remembered it.

The first Saturday of the year I spent it at my mother’s house, eating ‘proper’ food. A small portion of amala with ewedo soup and fish. The amala was smooth and relatively sweet in taste.

The second Saturday of the year, I was back again for more of the good stuff with obe ata (pepper stew), okra and a piece of fish.

I don’t think that I’ll ever attempt to cook amala in my own house, my mother does this to perfection! It does seem like I’m falling into a lovely pattern of Eba on Friday evenings and Amala on Saturday evenings a perfect blend of reminiscing about childhood and a reminder of the current day challenges.

And, thinking of my own current challenges…

January always gets me thinking and reflecting

Now that I’m rolling inexorably toward my half century and given all the health scares I had last year, I need to more seriously think about the things I can control over my life. Food is one of biggest things. Only I determine what enters my body. As you can see from my posts at the end of last year, I pretty much indulged myself on holiday, it would have been rude not to (!). However it was accompanied by a not unsurprising increase in my weight and I’ve not quite managed to revert back to my pre holiday weight, yet. To be honest, I haven’t tried. I’m certainly not eating as luxuriously as before but I’m not restricting myself either but I’ve not had the time or the energy to exercise. This week alone has been stupid, I’ve been up everyday before six, to either start work at my ‘home office’ or start my 60 mile commute to the ‘office’. I’ve finished at 6pm each day – at the ‘office’ the security guard comes round to lock up the building at that time. At the ‘home office’ I’m exhausted by that time. I’m not sure what I have achieved this week. The things that were stressing me out the most were the child protection reports from the medicals the week before. I managed to complete them before the ‘deadline’ aka departmental KPI. I was also due to present my audit at a clinical governance meeting, so I spent quite a bit of time crafting audience friendly slides to ensure I had highlighted the main points. As well as finding the time to review the notes for the ten children scheduled for me to see over the course of the week. I’ve managed to write up my notes for all but one of them but there is not dictation in sight yet!

All of this matters because it negatively influences how I end up treating myself. I comfort eat terrible food, just to stave off the feelings of stress. I’ve sacrificed my personal time to work, instead of planning how I am going to keep healthy by exercising. Occasionally, I have periods, when I can break this rather toxic cycle and I find more balance in my life but it does take a great deal of will power. I appreciate I am a work in progress but I am also a person who has an expiry date, whether I like to acknowledge it or not!

Do I have a plan…?

Not yet…

Will I have a plan…?

YES!

Am I going to share it…?

I’m working on myself – it’s a daily thing

All I will say is that, I’m not going to deny myself eating delicious home cooked meals made by mother. They are the light at the end of the tunnel of my ridiculous working week. Or indeed, anyone that wants to treat me to nice food. I like food too much.

I will need to think the situations that I am putting myself in that mean that I feel the need to comfort eat. I still need to work on reducing my stress.

I will also have to work out how to prioritise more movement in my life. I need to build in time to exercise consistently and enjoy it as much as I eating food.

Interestingly I loved sport and exercise as a child. I’m not sure how the joy got sucked away as an adult. I need to find that magic 💫 and bring it back to life.

Good luck Bunmi…


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