When it comes to planning a party, no one does it better than Africans. We hold the opinion that African parties should be studied as a course in the university, and we have our reasons.
Let’s paint you a mental picture, shall we?n
You have just taken the first step into a hall full of humans and the first thing that hits your eyes is the bright colours, it’s all around the room, but that’s not all you see. You let your eyes, as well as your other senses, guide you through the room, and suddenly you’re left with more questions than answers.
What is this euphoric magic that is bursting out of the speakers, and why does your body want to move to its infective rhythm?
What is this energy in the room?
What is this wondrous aroma that is enslaving all five senses and causing your tongue to water?
What is this wonder?
We would offer to tell you, but we have a good feeling that you know what is going on around you. You are at an African Party, and just as we implied earlier, this wonder was not achieved by mere happenstance. No, a great deal of excellent planning went into preparing the wonder.
You are probably excited at this point and are screaming ‘spill!’ right now.
‘Teach me the sacred art of planning an African party!’
Breathe… You’ll get your request sorted out soon, but not exactly the way you envisage it. No, we won’t be giving you all that juicy secret, however, we have decided to give only the most important aspect of an Afro party.
If you think of ‘food’, then you are in the same flow with us.
Now, if you find that absurd and you are thinking, ‘No! Food isn’t the most important aspect, the people are.’
Well, we would guess that you have never set foot at an African festivity and as such, have missed out on a taste of heaven so far, or maybe you just have not attended a fabulous party yet. Also, about the people part of the statement, we beg to differ. People don’t taste as delicious as jollof rice.
We can boldly say that one way of recognising an African party without having much experience in the field is through food. There is always an ‘item 7’ on the program, which stands for the part of the occasion where the food is served.
Now, is it just any food that gets to make it to an Afro-themed party menu? Definitely not!
Only food made for royalty gets to make it on the menu. Everything is heavenly and majestic, from the main course to the dessert, and as a rule, there is always JOLLOF RICE.
Now that we’ve set the tone for the festivity, let’s get to the food planning. What gets to qualify as African food platter material? Let’s find out.
How many vegetarians do you know from the motherland?
We bet you can count all of them on both hands. That’s because somewhere in their DNA is the innate ability to prepare and eat meat. We love meat so much that we consider our meals incomplete in the absence of meat. In the same vein, your African food platter would be incomplete without meat, and we don’t hold back when it comes to the choice of meat.
The most popular would be beef, chicken and goat meat, but there is a lot more variety of meat to choose from. Rabbit, snail, turkey, duck, ram, heaven!
For festive purposes, you could choose to prepare them kebab style, known as suya in West Africa, or you could fry them, boil them, or dip them in pepper sauce. Whichever way you choose, your platter just becomes a lot more attractive to a black audience the moment you bring meat into the conversation.
If you like, you can choose to make the entire platter out of meat, just don’t forget to send us an invite to the feast.
Party Jollof Rice
For God so loved the world that he gave the black man the wisdom to make jollof rice, that every tongue that tasteth it may confess and give glory to tthe wondrous works of God!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: if they say it’s an African party and there’s no jollof rice, it’s a trap. Abort mission! Abort mission!
There’s that feeling of relief the moment your nostrils pick up the aroma of jollof rice at a festivity. Immediately, you know in your heart, ‘this is home. This is where my heart belongs.’
The spicy and smoky taste of party jollof rice is perfect to set the tone and make everything in the world alright again. There’s a reason it’s called ‘Party Jollof’.
The truth is that jollof rice isn’t native to Africa as a whole. It originated in West Africa and was perfected in … (you know where), but its popularity has grown even outside of Africa that even people from other continents can’t seem to free themselves from the spell of jollof rice.
Pro tip: If it was cooked with firewood, then you can follow the host home, they’re most likely good people.
We’re tearing up at this point.
Plantain is one food we can’t thank the Asians enough for introducing to Africa.
Have you ever eaten fried plantains before?
Has your mouth ever been joined in perfect union with the delicious golden-yellow tenderness that is fried Musa paradisiaca?
It’s okay if you’re crying in ecstasy too. We understand. When fried plantains are in your mouth, for a moment your brain overloads from trying to comprehend the sweet flavour that is being released into your taste buds, and with every bite, you get a step closer to unravelling the mysteries of creation.
Introduce this wonder to your food platter, and leave your guests with an experience they won’t be getting over soon.
Fruits and Veggies
We believe in having just the right amount of everything on your food platter, and it would be a bit unhealthy to pack all those amazing meals onto your food platter without making space for fruit and veggies.
The reason is not far-fetched. You’re going to need something to aid in the digestion of all that food. Also, it’s never a bad idea to eat fruits and vegetables. We love our fruits and vegetables and picking just the right kind for your platter is highly essential.
We’d advise that you go for fruit with low-water content and a bit firm. You don’t want to add watermelons or pineapples to your food tray unless you intend to make it rain on your platter. You could pick fruits like apples, strawberries, cherries and grapes. As for the vegetables, carrot, lettuce, cucumber and onion slices should do the trick.
We almost forgot to mention fish.
Fish is very popular in our local cuisine as most African countries have coastal areas scattered across their maps, and so we have grown quite accustomed to the delicious taste of fish.
Therefore, fish is always a great addition to make to your food platter. How you decide to prepare or serve the fish is totally up to you. It could be grilled, fried or prepared as a soup.
Whichever way your fish appears on the platter, there’d be grateful hands waiting to devour them.
You would expect that everything on the African platter has to scream Africa, but somehow, snacks have become a stable feature on our food trays.
The reason is that we love moving our mouths whilst indulging in other activities during the celebration, and you know how difficult it will be to burst an Afro dance step with Jollof rice in your hands.
Therefore, we came up with what the West Africans call ‘small chops’ and the rest of the world call finger food. Whether it is spring rolls, samosa, or puff-puff, the black man does not discriminate as long as he can multitask.
Juice and Water
We know you came to eat, and you’re scared that the moment you let water pass down your throat, it is goodbye ‘all-the-amazing-food-before-my-eyes’, and you are not willing to say goodbye yet.
Still, we would like to implore you to take some fluids. Do not do it for us, do it for the sake of good bowel movement.
We guess that’s enough for an amazing food platter, and frankly, all this talk about food is getting us hungry. Please, put together a party already and once your food platter is ready, reach out to us. We’d love to feast with you.