Tuesday, 22 May 2012


TZ is the staple food for this area. Although people prepare and eat fufu, banku, kenkey and rice, TZ is what sustains people most often in this region. I’m not sure whether I have ever known what it stands for or even if that is widely acknowledged. However, it has little if any taste and is therefore not unpleasant, unless the smooth but slightly gritty texture upsets you.

I have been allowed a token attempt at pounding fufu but anyone who pounds regularly and was born to it, smiles or even laughs out loud when I mention it. How could these small, delicate, white hands seriously pound fufu. It’s a joke to even consider it really. Apparently, I’d be blistered before the yam pieces were even broken, never mind turned to a mound of smooth, inflated, elastic gorgeousness!
Anyway, I am determined to succeed at beating TZ, in all senses of the word. This is all about cornflour. You start by making a boiling “porridge” with water and sour corn dough, into which cornflour is stirred and fiercely beaten. I have mentioned before the strength and tenacity of Ghanaian women. There is no such thing as fast food here. When your meal is ready to eat, you have deserved every mouthful. I managed less than half a cooking pot of presentable TZ under supervision from Louisa and with the right tools for the job. Tools include iron hooks that allow you to secure the cooking pot with your feet so it doesn't fall off the stove. When beaten enough and cooked, you scoop it out with a calabash and layer it into bowls. When you eat it, cold, with soup or stew, it comes away in slices. Evidently, people make lots of it, cover it with water and it lasts for days and weeks.

Needless to say, my unsupervised attempt at preparing TZ in the privacy of my own home, was a disaster. Quantities are not measured here and my estimations were a long way out. In addition, a non-stick saucepan (Christmas purchase from Sainsburys) and a wooden spoon just didn’t meet requirements at all. Things have improved since and I produced something edible, with help, last week. The other skill I haven’t yet mastered is being able to clear around the inside of a pot of boiling porridge with my bare hands and pour a spoonful of boiling soup into the palm of my hand to taste it for seasoning!!!! My tutor must have a layer of asbestos below the skin. I shall get better with practice, but how much better I’m not sure. You see, this type of cooking is not in my blood and that seems to matter!

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