Although Igwe and I are both Nigerians, we come from two different worlds – and I’m not talking just about the fact that we come from two tribes (Yoruba and Igbo respectively). I won’t go into the details of our differences because I don’t want to put all of our business in the streets. But let’s just say that if it was not for America, we probably would have no business meeting. Getting married would be out of the question.
All that said, although we have been “together” for seven years now, every now and then, we still find out little things about each other. Like the day I found out that Igwe thought all Hausa people were Muslims by default. Because I lived in the North all my life in Nigeria, I knew otherwise. I had Hausa friends, neighbors, classmates, and church members. Catholic church for that matter sef. He was shocked when I told him that the name Yakubu is actually just Joseph in Hausa. He nearly fainted.
Last week, we went to visit his friend and their brand spanking new baby girl. And his friend made my day when he presented us with tiger nuts. Tiger nuts!! In Jos, we call them Aya. I always liked the wet ones better than the dry ones, and the ones we were given were wet, so yes, I was over the moon. By the way, I feel so dirty saying I liked the wet ones.
The shocker came when Igwe’s friend brought out an empty grocery bag. I asked what the bag was for, and apparently, it was for us to spit out the chewed tiger nuts. Ehn??? This was my first time ever, ever seeing this. In Jos, we chewed and swallowed all our aya. I had never seen it being spat out. So while Igwe and his friend were looking at me in astonishment, I was returning the look, too, because spitting out chewed aya was brand new to me; likewise, swallowing it was new to them. When the thing is not tobacco, which one is to spit it out again kwa?
On whether or not tiger nuts are a natural aphrodisiac, I will put it this way: the morning after we ate them, Igwe was sure that they were indeed an aphrodisiac. I, on the other hand, just waved him off as classic Igwe who finds a way to relate everything to sex.
So, yeah, how do you eat tiger nuts?
P.S. The tiger nuts were bought from an African store here in Baltimore, which means that my life in America is now almost complete.
P.P.S. I ate the tiger nuts with reckless abandon while I nursed my nostalgia for Nigeria. I miss home. I wanna go back. I have a new list of all the foods I must eat.
P.P.P.S. He gave us a bag of tiger nuts to take home. He’s Bae!
P.P.P.P.S. Is it just me or do the wrinkles on these tiger nuts make them look like erect nipples?