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A Jolly ‘Good Friday’ Frejon and The Lagosian!

A Jolly ‘Good Friday’ Frejon and The Lagosian!

now serving!

Several years ago, on a typical ‘Good Friday’ celebration, in the comfort of my Parent’s baroque yellow & white Brazilian-quarter-bungalow, tucked away within the safe haven of Catholic Mission neighborhood, I would have gladly woken up to . . .

  • Clattering of deep oriental dishes arranged by color and floral patterns! Already carefully washed and wiped dried! I bet, with strict instructions from my Mom on how She’s managed to inherit and preserved them without any cracks!
  • Wooden gift baskets with folded napkins with individual family name tags, waiting on the dining table! In fact, I remember certain selected names over the years and smiles as I look forward to the delivery of the delicacy!
  • Wooden Raspado for coconuts (waiting to be cracked and scraped) The hardest part of cracking and scraping the juice from the coconut, I always managed to escape this part!
  • Black beans slow cooked over-time, over-night, large skillet pots, charcoal fire. Chopped onions, tomatoes & alligator peppers stewed with bay leaf.
  • Seasoned fresh red snapper fish, peppered cray fish, deep-fried shrimp, large blue crabs cleaned & marinated, now in relationship with each other!
  • Aroma of sautéed and stir-fried peppered snail directing traffic and confusion between Campbell & Broad street!
  • Tilapia fish, so settled and humbled in their new abode; grated garlic and ginger sauce!
  • Assorted seasonings like cloves and fresh thyme hanging around like foreign neighbors!

Oh no! IT IS FREJON DAY!

With all that’s going on around the world, I absolutely, almost forgot all those fun years until a childhood friend and my next door neighbor then (now lives in The UK)  sent me a text reminding me of how my Mom would constantly send “Those Frejon Baskets” to their family every Good Friday, and how much they’d loved it!  #ThanksAngie

Oh wow! Brought back….Good Old Memories!

Even though it was a cultural recipe passed down from my Paternal-Grandmother (The Coker’s- The DaSilva’s -The Gansallo’s) to my Mother.

Our family Frejon was usually made in large bulk and distributed out as gifts to family & friends every Good Friday!

The packaging is usually more exciting for me! The selection of dishes to use, how well the bean puree is carefully poured inside the deep oriental dish, separating the dish for the fish stew, peppered fish or separate side dish for Garri (cassava flakes) to sprinkle or side dish of peppered snail garnished with bayleaf.

As a child then, I usually just looked forward to the token (money) I get from delivery the frejon! In fact, as I got older, I became wiser and selective on which family house to drop off the ‘Frejon basket, so my tip was  bigger! Lol!

So. . .

Nothing excites a child more than seeing family members travel from far and wide just to gather on the ‘Island’ with Uncle Kayode (My late Dad) to eat Frejon, experience the great Easter Brazilian Fanti carnival! …’every April!

Nothing beats the memories of how much emphasis my mom made on the importance and value of the measurement of the beans pudding, the clove, the texture of the coconut milk when mixed to smoothness while cooking it in the paste! The aroma of grated ginger, garlic and other spices over seafood splashing and dancing in a sizzling frenzy in a big frying pan!

Fast Forward. . . Today! My Kids, The Generation Z! They don’t really care about the sizzling ginger or garlic over sautéed fish! Or why I have to feed the nation with black beans cooked so-long when I can easily pick up black-eyed beans from Taco Bell! Phew! ‘They don’t get it, right?

Amid social distancing and all that’s going on, Good Friday, hmmm.

I shall be ordering Bob Evans ‘Fish & Chips’ to celebrate with my Family – I don’t think these kids care so much about the texture of sautéed ginger snails and frejon! Maybe my grandkids…

‘I hope my Mom and my late Grandmas will understand!

Yours in HOPE,

Yinka.

Frejon (From Feijão, which is the Portuguese word for beans) is a coconut milk and bean soup which is eaten especially during Holy Week by a selection of Christians, mostly Catholics, across the world. Countries where Frejon is popular include Brazil and Nigeria (especially among Yoruba who returned to Nigeria from Brazil at the abolition of the slave trade, and settled in what is known as the “Brazilian Quarters” in Lagos Island), and also Sierra Leone on Good Friday, or for functions such as weddings.[1] Because dairy foods and flesh meat (beef, pork, goat) are strictly forbidden on Good Friday, this dish is a suitable accompaniment to non-dairy foods such as fried fish and peppered snail.


The New York Times Cooking
 

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Fear of Unspoken Love Messages.

20180416_181356Our fears tend to lose their power when we bring them into the light. Sometimes, being in denial of a burden or loss makes it difficult to accept that someone we once casually reached out to, that was always available will not be anymore is enough to keep expanding the pit we feel in our stomachs.

It is uncontrollable.

Our mental health (how we feel and how others feel about us) is one of the greatest of God’s gifts, but we take it for granted. It hangs on a thread as fine as a spider’s web. And the smallest thing can make it snap, leaving the strongest of us helpless in an instant.

And in that instant; Hope is our protector and Love our relief.

Isn’t it amazing how hard we have to work at not letting our emotion trump the truth? Our thoughts left unchecked can spiral instantly and produce crippling anxiety. Especially when we receive a phone call and the blank voice on the other end of the line says those lines we never prepared for!

Who is prepared anyway?

The world we live in is full of love language that goes unspoken. Feelings are hidden behind cold tears to avoid rejection or seemingly weak appearance, it doesn’t mean that it is felt less deeply; or that separation leaves a cleaner wound behind. Its beauty and its pain are in its silence.

What does it take to express how we feel? To comfort a sick child? To ease the pathway for someone recently diagnosed? Or one in a difficult relationship? Or stepping into the shoes of an overwhelmed caretaker of a child with developmental disability? The hurting family? The passing on of a loved one?

Not saying it leaves them in isolation, while we battle with our regrets for a lifetime.

Some of us are not blessed with revelations or confession of expression. I still literally ball-out like a baby, whimpering in a corner, shivering like an Eskimo whenever I receive dreary-hardened news….’the loss of my 3 pregnancies left me holding on to the ultra-sound pictures for years, the receipt of the cancer diagnosis left me physically scarred for life, the dilemma of accepting my child’s delay was an eye opener and created a movement in my career and life, and then the loss of my beloved Daddy…seems like part of me was stolen, but then its rebirth ignited the fire in me to soar.

When love language cannot be spoken, only shown, then everything that makes the heart beat must be hushed. I didn’t want to be hushed. I didn’t want to be consoled. I didn’t want to be told…C’est la vie! I just wanted to yell out how much love was sifting through me at the moment of each tragedy I had encountered over the years.

‘Yinka, “Mr. G.” has gone to rest! Welcome-To-The-Club! ‘We have all lost our Dads too” and their stories began, heartbreaking, heart torturing!

There was an overwhelming feeling of warmth and emotional support as I sat facing my 4 decades-bosom-childhood-friends on the night of the WAKE inside my dad’s parlor and a complete solidarity of hope as they all held on to me the next day at Ikoyi cemetery during the burial. #ThankYouVirginiaRuthAndIfeyinwa.

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*Virginia flew in from Port Harcourt, Ruth and Ifeyinwa had scrambled their way through the crazy Monday/Tuesday traffic from VGC to Lagos Island.

So, am I really ready for that club? The-No-earthly-Daddy’s club? I remember how I had panicked and fought everyone on the day of his lying-in-state. I didn’t know what got over me, but I lost my focus and literally shouted at everyone at my Dad’s place to keep dusting or cleaning his parlor, because the undertakers were bringing him into his house for lying in…

Oh no, He was coming back to his living room for the last time, and I was losing my mind…because only his body was present. I cried like a deranged widow. My fear was evident but my spoken love was massive. Phew!

Mourning is a strange, personal, twisted road. Especially when you lose a parent. We all expect that this will be our story; we will outlive our parents. And yet they are our origin people. For the entire 46 years I have been on earth, my Dad had been too. He was a given, a constant. And now, He’s not. The reconciliation with this new reality has been harder than I’d though it would be.

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So, if you’re reading this and still struggling with a fear of unspoken feelings or still in doubt if it is okay to express it without a response. Yes! Because, our Fear is inevitable, but the proclaimed shame over it is optional. Fear is wired into our very brains, into the most primitive part of us.

And if overwhelmed with fear of expression, share it with someone you trust today and ask them to pray with you. Doing so will help them be braver about sharing their fears and feelings too. Courage is contagious.

My Healing Process:

I usually open up my office door and allow my clients (children on the spectrum) to walk up in, have a seat and rummage through my toy bags as I engage their Behavior Techs in conversation and finally shift my attention on them, always getting animated and saying…“Do you know how much I love you today? This big!! (with emphasis on BIG as my arms opens up to hug them) ‘irrespective of the behavior displayed.

And when they walk out happier or puzzled at my 1-minute sugar-high craziness, with tears in my eyes more for joy of submission and expression, I know my bottled up feelings are being expressed through the minds of these little kids gradually…

Sometimes what we need is not information or speech or a literature of the pain we already know; But consolation. Sometimes we just need to know we are not the only one going through stuff. We need not the “how-to” but the “me too” consolation.

Because we are battle-worn and tender and have already fought as hard as we possibly can for now. Let’s show our spoken-affection to someone in need of it today.

May God help us all.

PS: Big THANKS to everyone who supported me through it all. I truly appreciate it.

Yours in HOPE
Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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