So, life continues…I’m trying to finish this year’s work before the year is over (it’s not looking good, people), because next year may be even busier than this year. I am currently tired and cranky and tired and I suppose I should just write that scene where Baghdor and her sister talk over Waridi’s unconscious body and the crab rushes out to them, screaming for help but I’m tired and my brain is like…Which is hilarious because I think I woke up at noon (after sending the kids off to school, of course). Anyhoo, here’s an excerpt from one of the stories in our anthology Pepper Soup, currently available on Okadabooks, Kobo and Amazon Kindle. Enjoy!
HOW TO MAKE PEPPER SOUP By Timendu Aghahowa
You have never made pepper soup before in your life, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Don’t worry. It’s not difficult. Water. Spices. Pepper. Protein. Not in that order, of course.
First things first: choose your animal.
Prela likes fish. Cat fish, specifically, although he calls it fresh fish like the Ijaw man that he is. Your father is like that. He says that he can taste the death in fish that has been put on ice. You may roll your eyes, but go to the fish market, the one where they have live cat fish swimming in big plastic basins. Buy one and bring it home.
Prela must eat his fresh fish pepper soup.
Next step: kill your animal.
This step really only applies to cat fish. I truly doubt anyone can taste the death in frozen chicken. Then again, there have been rumours of formaldehyde so who knows? Anyway, get your ladle ready. The big one that you use to make osin.
Brace yourself. You’ve never done this before and the first time can be traumatic. My first time? My mother came home with a bucket of four live cat fish and declared, ‘How can my Ijaw daughters not know how to kill fish?’ We thought she was joking till she made us go into the kitchen one after the other to do what I’m about to tell you.
Ready? Take the bucket with the fish and pour its contents into the sink. Do not let the fish suffocate! Nothing tastes worse than fish that dies on its own. Hit it on its head with the ladle till you crack its skull. Don’t take too long. Use quick, precise movements. Try to get it done in three hits. My first time? I got it done in two. Or so I thought till I got to the next step.
Gut your animal.