If you know Nigerians, you know we love drama and hold our myths and superstitions very close to our hearts.
Nigerian cuisine is deeply rooted in culture, and as such it has its, stories, rules and customs which are more often than not, shrouded in mystery. These myths are usually funny and borderline ridiculous. If you’re short, you’ve probably been told several times that it’s because you refused to eat beans as a child.
Who knew that not eating beans, will be the reason that girls on twitter will curve you regularly?
Here are some of the funniest Nigerian food myths that I’ve come across.
1. Drinking coconut water will make you dumb
It’s hard to understand why the elders came up with this rule because coconut water is really nutritious! They probably made the rule so they don’t have to spend their time breaking coconuts open for children or because they wanted to enjoy it alone. A more probable reason is that coconut water is an antidote to poison, so they created the myth to discourage kids from drinking all the available coconut water.
2. If you give a child too much meat and eggs, the child will become a thief
A Nigerian mother probably made this rule after waking up to a half empty pot of soup. Honestly, any Nigerian who never stole meat from the pot is a saint and should be the President of Nigeria. There’d be zero corruption. Meat and eggs are great sources of protein that growing children need, but they probably did not know that back then.
3. Eating a Mango after drinking Garri or Coke will kill you
Nobody knows the origin of this, but a lot of people believe it strongly. If you attended boarding school in Nigeria, you probably heard this myth a lot of times. Is anybody willing to experiment and show us the results?
4. Swallowing seeds means a tree will grow on your head
This one kind of makes sense, because seeds can choke you and lead to fatal injury or death. But Nigerians are so extra that they just had to claim a tree will sprout out of your head.
5. Never speak when you’re plucking feathers from a chicken because the feathers will keep growing back
Really, who came up with this one? The person probably wanted women to be quiet while plucking chickens.
6. If you eat snails, your progress in life will be slow
Nigerians don’t play with their destiny or progress. I kid you not, there’s a Nigerian church whose members don’t eat snails for this very reason. However, if you’ve tasted the greatness that is snail fried in pepper, you’ll be cured of believing ridiculous myths.
7. Eating fish eyes will give you huge eyes and make you a dullard
Whoever made this one up probably did not know that eyes remain the same size from birth to death. This myth is so popular, that it inspired the ‘Olodo rabata, oju eja lo mo je’ song.
8. If your food falls to the ground, don’t pick it because the devil has kissed it
This is a good myth, and it was probably made to discourage kids from picking food off the ground. Whoever made it probably never heard of the five-second-rule though.
9. If you eat a chicken’s butt, you’d become a talkative
This one is quite hilarious because I imagine that it’s the chicken taking revenge on you for eating its butt. The reasons behind this myth are unclear.
10. Don’t eat while standing or the food will go to your feet
Wouldn’t it have been simpler to say ‘Don’t eat while standing because it’s unhealthy, and you can choke’? But Nigerian children are stubborn, so this was probably the only way to get them to sit down and eat.