Everybody has a fear. Or is it doubt? Whatever floats your boat. You are afraid of becoming rich because they will rob you. Or the fear that sends cold shivers down your spine, of spending life alone. That you are not good enough for anybody and that eventually, you will be sitting, alone in that armchair rocking yourself to sleep. Alone. That fear.
Well, mine has always been fish. And it comes in pairs, like supermarket deals around this time of the year. My first fear is that I don’t have the “ nyadhi “ or the finesse necessary to indulge in fish-eating leave alone to admire it while it is being obliterated.
See, I am from the mountain region. Our style is swimming “warus” served with a lot of cabbage and if we come from the who is who in the region, we get to wash that down with hurriedly chopped carrot. Fish has never been our forte.
Am always ashamed of how I eat fish. I can never eat the head no matter how furiously you insist. How do you even find that sweet? It’s like my taste buds take a break when I reach the head. And how do you all leave a perfect spine afterward?
My second and most dominant fear is death. Yes, death. And my fear of death from eating fish is well-founded. In high school, my go-to set book was The River and The Source by Margaret Ogola. Of course, my favorite character was Chief Owang’ Sino, the last-born son of the great Akoko and Chief Owuor Kembo of Sakwa. He was chief for a short while until he crossed paths with fish in the dark of the night. He choked on a fishbone.
Owang’ Sino died because he couldn’t wait for light, he ate in darkness. I am not even sure of missing a bone when eating fish out in the daylight. Before swallowing, my fish undergoes a two-step verification process. I cannot afford to die while eating fish, what will my ancestors in the Aberdares say? They will turn in their graves. They expect me to join them via drowning in soup and I am here choking on bones? What have we become hehe..
That said, fish is not that bad. Actually, it is one of the best meats around, after turkey. I love it for its simplicity and the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. It doesn’t matter where you come from; fish is a must-have. However, you like it, whether fermented, smoked, deep-fried ama wet fry if you are not having fish you are missing a lot.
Imagine going to Kisumu or Homa Bay and not eating fish? How sad can your life be?
And it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to eat fish properly or you fear death by choking like me, all you have to do is give it a try and you might actually end up being a fishmonger rather than a rumor monger hahaha… (I now, I know it’s a bad joke, not my proudest moment).
Maybe next time I will give you a few recipes, hazina supu… I promise!
Originally published at https://themaverick.co.ke on December 16, 2020.