Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming my mother to London Town. I love having her around. We laugh, we fight, we gossip and we eat fish till our jaws lock.
A soon as she arrived, we hauled her bags up the stairs and then headed to Tesco to hunt for dinner.
“I want fish, plenty of vegetables and fruits. You know that’s all I eat.”
“Whatever mummy, that’s what you always say.”
“I’m serious this time!”
“If I come home tomorrow and find ogbono soup in the fridge what should I do to you?”
“I didn’t bring any ogbono now!”
Like that has ever stopped her. My mother knows every nook and cranny in London where they sell Nigerian food.
As soon as we walked into Tesco, we headed for the fish counter. I had planned the menu in my head; grilled salmon, pepper sauce and rice. All I needed from the counter were two salmon fillets. Shikena.
“Excuse me,” I said to the lady behind the counter, “can I have two of those salmon fillets please?”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mother eyeing some whole salmons with a bright red half-price banner swinging above them.
“Mummy there’s no space in my freezer, you know how tiny it is. Besides what are we going to do with a fish that size?!”
“I’m sure it’s more economical.”
“I don’t care. I’m not buying that big fish!”
“Don’t mind her,” my mother said to the attendant, “please weigh that fish and tell me how much it is.”
“It’s £15.80 and that includes the discount.”
“God forbid! Mummy, I’m not spending £16 on fish!”
The zealous attendant eager to sell her fish started buttering up my mother.
“It came fresh this morning. We can cut it up for you anyhow you want.”
“Erm, did you not hear me? I am not buying that fish!”
She ignored me. “Madam, would you like me to cut it up.”
“Yes please, don’t mind my daughter.”
“Okay o, buy whatever you want but you must finish this fish before you go.”
You should have seen the size of the bag of fish. I needed a wheel barrow to drag it home!
We got home and I started cooking.
“How many pieces of fish do you want?”
“Are you sure, the pieces are quite big”
“You know I’m not eating any rice and you’re the one that said I must finish the fish before I go.”
I grilled the fish, boiled some rice for myself and made the sauce. I served up her two fillets and sauce and handed the plate to her.
“Ah, you didn’t put rice in my own?!”
“I thought you didn’t want rice?!”
“Put a little.”
A little equalled two sizeable spoons. She polished off the rice and then the battle with the fish began. I knew there was no way she would be able to eat both pieces.
“Mummy, why aren’t you eating your fish? Start eating it o, you must empty that plate!”
“But I’m full now! Do you want me to die of over feeding? You are the one that gave me rice when I said I didn’t want any.”
“You said you didn’t want what?!”
We both burst into laughter.
She didn’t finish her food and I spent a good hour rearranging my fridge and freezer to find space for her massive salmon.
That’s my mother folks. Stresses me out and cracks me up all at the same time!