One of my lesser known ‘life skills’ is eating piping hot dodo – and that fresh from the frying pan. Looking back, this non-trivial skill was honed in the kitchen of #19 Aiguobasinmwin Crescent. It must have been sometime in 1986 – those were the heady days in which Lawrence Anini our very own Robin Hood-lite and his side kick Monday Osunbor reigned supreme in Benin City. Sane, un-jazzed-up people stayed indoors, the not so sane limited their night-time frolicking nonetheless.
At the time my coffee intoxicated PhD chasing father, my barely four year old sister and I shared our three bed flat. Meal times consisted of soups and stews warmed so many times that they had gone stale by mid week with rice or eba – hardly something to look forward to. Mother and the other sister lived about 80 kilometers aways in another town, so the best she could do was make the soups and stew over a weekend, pack them and get them frozen for when we had to make the hour long trip, typically on Sunday evenings. I suspect the dull green colour of the food bowls didn’t help either – hardly an inspiring choice.
Amidst our food travails, suya on Airport Road and piping hot dodo became the only high points we could look forward to. Like all evolving organisms we adapted our eating processes to maximise the amount of dodo we could get. I for one learned to suck in a huge glob of air at the same time as dropping dodo into my mouth to cool it. Many years later I would learn, that the heat transfer rate was proportional to the mass flow rate of air (ie the more air i sucked in the cooler the dodo would be). Over time, I got so adept at pulling this trick off that my father finally put his foot down and made us all wait for the entire batch of dodo to be fried and shared before eating… So much for my ‘life skill’. Sigh