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It was a long road trip from Lagos to Akure, and this time unlike our last trip two years earlier, I was determined to sample every culinary treat the roadside sellers had to offer.

And so I began. Loads of water for everybody, whatever brand looked the coldest.

La Casera for the girls, because milk remains E3’s favourite and only drink apart from water. Apple flavoured, because E2 is fussy, but she likes apple fruit juices. E3 drank hers, E2 took a sip, then shook her head violently to convey her distaste. Chocolate Fan Ice a while later was a hit with E1 and E3. E2 shook her head after one sip. I didn’t like the La Casera…..and the Fan Ice tasted so different from how it had when I was growing up. It tasted artificial, but maybe that is because my taste buds have aged. Whatever.

I saw plantain chips, but did not buy. My teeth are now Westernized, a previous trial had convinced me they were too hard to attempt eating, and were not sweet enough either.

The smell of fish being fried hit my nose way before I saw her. She had a big basin of fresh fish beside her, and a tray of fried battered fish in front of her. There might have been a bowl of batter too, I did not notice it. I had eyes only for the fish. Tasty, well seasoned, steaming hot. It did not disappoint. We all enjoyed it, I wish I’d bought more.

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Don’t know what fish it was, very yummy nonetheless

We duly did it justice.

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All gone

My eyes lit up when I saw the popcorn seller. The legend on the packet said popcorn and groundnut, and the memories of this treat came flooding back. I happily handed over the money in exchange for one, ripped the packet open, grabbed a handful then passed the bag around. As I ate, it occurred to me that all I was crunching between my teeth was popcorn, but I thought I’d been unlucky. The bag came back my way, still only popcorn. The popcorn was nice, slightly sweetened the way I like it, but where were the groundnuts?

I asked the others if they had eaten any groundnuts. They hadn’t. ‘They called it popcorn and groundnut na’ I grumbled aloud.

T piped up from the front seat, ‘I’ve found it’ as he handed something over to me. I stared in disbelief at what he had given me. It was a solitary groundnut tied in a clear bag. I rubbed my eyes to clear them properly, and stared at it again. Then I read the packet slowly. It was there in red under the list of ingredients. Hybrid popcorn, Vegetable oil, Groundnut. As in singular. One groundnut. I wanted to cry at the injustice of it all. But I had to applaud their ingenuity. The item had been sold as described. Sheer genius.

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Spot the groundnut

Thank you for stopping by Smile.

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