I have made a discovery! I have finally found love, and it is heaven sent.
I have found the one spice that given any opportunity, would feature in my food. I have found a heavenly scent and it is called Ogyegma.
My love for food makes my relationship with spices an intimate one. Of course, when I speak of spices, I am in no way casting your mind to those which are advertised on our TV stations ( and for which we shall be paying TV license fees soon, despite the fact that most of the programs are like food cooked with a sack full of mono-sodium glutamate), those are never spices! When I refer to spices, I speak of those which have been harvested off proper farms and happy women’s gardens. I speak of the likes of Ogyegma, my flaming amber love.
My little probing revealed that this wonderful pepper is called the Habanero Pepper (Capsicum Chinense Jacquin) or Yellow Lantern Chili in many parts of the world. However, these names fall short of aptly describing this spice as does Ogyegma, which means ‘You smell good’ in Ga. And oh boy, it sure smells good!
My love for Ogyegma does not come merely as a result of how lovely its colour is, nor of how amazingly refreshing it’s aroma is. It is buried a few inches deeper than Cloves in my heart because it illustrated to me one very important principle.
It was a lot of minutes past 3:00 pm and the sun was indecisive. I had finally decided on what I would make for supper and I got right on with making my tomato stew for my boiled yam. I give myself the liberty to do the unusual and on that Thursday, I decided to use Ogyegma as my only pepper, leaving out my regular chilli.
You see, with regular pepper, using a lot only resulted in you having to drink lots of water while eating or if you were like me, wipe your runny nose every now and then. However, this was not the case with mighty Ogyegma. It just overpowered everything with it’s intense flavour! It was sobering and almost saddening to think that I would not be able to eat my food with it tasting that way, regardless of how taken I was with the aroma. I consulted Rosemary and she directed me to the Bay that I seemed to have forgotten. These two other spices came together and managed to convince Ogyegma to relinquish a part of its power and it did. I was very grateful. I got myself seated and as I ate, I could almost hear in my mouth the scent of Ogyegma shouting, ‘ Moderation! Moderation!!’
Moderation! That was it. That was what kept things in balance. Right appropriation, measured quantities, controlled usages. Moderation.
In spite of how much I loved my Ogyegma, it warned, ‘Moderation”
My flaming amber love sweetly whispered, ‘Moderation, my dear.’