Tray of Jollof rice with three bay leafs

Jollof Wars

There is a kind of Jollof rice that creates war, and there is a type that is ignored because it is considered boring; it is plain, and no one wages war over it. However, the Holy Grail of Jollof rice is the one that has all the oils and smoky textures combined, with a kick of spice that leaves you coming back for more. Many have been known to burn pots, matchsticks and add burning charcoal into the dish at home to recreate this taste.

Similarly, a lot has been said about Jollof rice, it even features African Lovin' in our conversation starter deck, yet it is only one dish of many. We need to eat food to survive, and Jollof rice is only one of those meals. However, in African culture, food is a lot more than just a necessity. It is part of who we are. Our identity and upbringing are often intertwined with food, memories, scents, tastes and our first attempt at cooking; do you remember the first time you boiled rice?.

Do you remember when Britains beloved Jamie Oliver did his take on Jollof and Africans united to let him know it was not on? Ghanaian, Nigerian and Senegalese descendants let the gentleman know that his attempt was not up to scratch.
The debate on whose Jollof is better in West Africa creeps into our households too. Pause for one moment and think about whose rice dish tastes the best in your family? Can you cook as good as your mother? Is there an aunty whose fried snacks can man a grown man beg for more?

So, regardless of what you are cooking, or whether you are even making your biltong at home ( how amazing is that), remember there is no need to fight over food that is supposed to bring us together!

Of course we did not leave you without a quiz! Here is a test of how well you know your African dishes!
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