So this morning my colleague comes to my desk, and assaults me with an offer I find I can’t refuse. Red red from the roadside seller in Osu. For lunch. Today.
“Ok! Great, thanks.” I’m all excited.
All those vows taken last night, as I chomped on a biscuit smothered in butter, with accompanying warm tea…forgotten in an instant.
But how could I fall so quickly? Day one, meal two?? (Breakfast was a very controlled scrambled egg. Plain. With water and multivitamins).
“Oh, but I shouldn’t. My diet started today.” Laughter from colleagues ensues… You see, this 'diet starting Monday' may have had quite a few public false starts…
The thing is that this red red from this seller is not something you can resist.
Red red is a local Ghanaian dish consisting of a tomatoey bean stew, served with fried plantains. Not low cal stuff. It’s yummy.
The famous seller has been sitting at her tiny outdoor stall, serving up the delicious stuff in bright green banana leaves, for literally YEARS. She sits on a bumpy untarred dead end road, near the old American Embassy in Osu (before they built their new fortress of epic proportions). People come from miles around.. (My colleague being a case in point. I will call him Ernie here, to protect his innocence).
On Friday Ernie mentioned going there and how amazing the food was – the smell, the texture as he indulged with his hands, scooping the beans from the waxy leaf, just like the good old days. The experience transported him to his youth and the carefree days of school.
As he was narrating the story, another colleague walked by and said:
“You know what you are eating!” in a warning tone and walked off. Ernie called her back.
“No, come back! Tell us what!”
A small crowd of us gathered. All the Ghanaians knew what she was going to say. I was the only clueless one (A common occurrence for me here!).
“The cobra under the table!”
Everyone laughed. It is apparently common knowledge/superstition/rumour that this woman uses juju (in this case a mystical cobra snake that hides in her stall), to get her customers craving her food and coming back for more.
I was amazed at this silly belief people hold, creating a witchhunt mentality – just because someone is doing well and has maintained a customer base.
Now it’s Monday. I am supposed to be on day one of a strict and purposeful diet, and yet my mouth has been watering since first thing this morning at the mere suggestion of the red red…
Perhaps there’s more to this juju thing than I care to admit???
On the other hand I could just be a typical diet failure, losing the willpower before it began!!!
The diet starts Tuesday.