I am going to roll up my sleeves and learn how to de-bone and stuff poultry because I love the decadent, excessive act of slicing into a layered multi-bird roast and devouring it. Mmpphh! Oh, and my side dishes will include jollof rice, chapatis and dengu - African dishes that I can prepare with eyes wide shut.
You see, as is customary in many African cultures my Shangazi (paternal Aunt), taught me how to cook when I was a pubescent teen. For that I am truly thankful. I do feel a little cheated though because some of my sisters from Uganda received extra training. In the Baganda and Basoga cultures, the Ssenga (paternal Aunt), delivered skills for the kitchen as well as the bedroom.
Using utensils such as the pestle (read: erect phallus) and mortar (read: pounding) the Ssenga taught her nieces how to keep sweet herbs and spices simmering in the kitchen, and the fire burning in the bedroom. She taught them how to cook African style.
In this coming of age ritual, when the pubescent nieces were finished with their lessons in the kitchen, the Ssenga would gather them and they would “visit the bush” together. First she would instruct them on their monthly cycle and the practice of good hygiene. Then, they would assemble some local herbs, grind them, squeeze the juice onto their labia minora and pull the lips while reciting the words “no pain, no gain.”
The girls would routinely stretch their labia minora, those tiny inner lips of the vajayjay, until they peeped out of the labia majora like the forked tongue of a snake. The ultimate goal was for the nieces to grow up with an elongated pair of minor lips to enhance sexual pleasure upon marriage. This tradition of sexual initiation persists even today in Uganda.
The initiation for our daughters here in the U.S. consists of a visit to the pediatrician, a clinical discussion about tell-tale signs that your little girl is blossoming, a stop at the nearest book store for an age-appropriate book, and then hopefully, a talk with mom about the birds and the bees.
I do feel blessed though because my Ugandan sisters constantly share mouth-watering recipes with me. Endless stories such as:
Foreplay begins right after dinner. A husband thanks his wife for a meal by holding her on his lap, for example. He massages her entire body asking tender questions like,
“What happened to the road that used to be here?”
“It is waiting for you,” the wife responds.
The back and forth exchange progresses in this way until the husband reaches the “well-tendered garden.” At which point, he checks to make sure it is okay to “open the door” (labia minora); and then he proceeds to thank her profusely for “toiling for him.”
Now, we know that Africa is a varied and diverse continent consisting of 53 countries. There are frontiers at our disposal for insight and discovery of the contours of Africa’s erotic landscape.
My only gripe is that Kenya shares a border with Uganda; they are two of the three countries that comprise the East African community. One would think that there would be a concerted effort to transfer knowledge, engage in cross-cultural exchanges, or some such endeavor, for goodness sake? Like most of my African sisters, I was well into adulthood when I discovered some of these delightful secrets. Better late than never!
So this Thanksgiving, along with the oral bliss to be enjoyed with the Turducken, let’s bone up on some of the eroticism of Africa. We’ll keep it popping in the kitchen this year!
Copyright © Hana Njau-Okolo 2008. All Rights Reserved.