I went to buy a few items from a nearby supermarket last Sunday, when my eyes fell on these avocados. I leaped with joy because these fruits are sooooo scarce in the part of Africa where I find myself today, whereas they were a common feature of my diet in my native Cameroon. Seeing those avocados brought a torrent of childhood memories which pushed me to write.
By the way, I am not used to calling this fruit avocado! I grew up calling them pears surely because we were taught in primary school to call them that way. It's been difficult to wipe that off but my daughter is working hard to get me there.
"It’s avocado not pear mama, that's what my teacher said," she says each time I ask her to have some pears. I guess I really need to get it into my head. However, for this post, I would enjoin you to permit me call it pear like I did while growing up.
I remember how my parents, my brothers, sisters and I all loved having pear and bread for breakfast. In fact we happily opted for pears rather than butter when we had both of the on the breakfast table.
Then, there were those days we used to call “twenty-hungry” – when the month was dragging to an end and most or all of the food items were finished. The dry days when butter was hard to find on the breakfast table; talk less of chocolate, cheese, mayonnaise or eggs.
Pears often came in handy. They were available and cheaper. My mother used to buy so much of it from the local markets at a giveaway price. We sometimes harvested them from our farms. We would wait impatiently for them to get ripe for eating.
And pears could accompany anything! Bread, soaked garri (drinking/cold water garri), roasted cocoyams or plantains or corn, miondo/bobolo and, oh My God, pear and plum (safou)!
Sadly, when I got to secondary school (boarding school) I realised that pears were labeled. They were called "the poor-student's-catalyst". Accordingly, students who came from less-affluent homes could only afford pears (avocado) as a bread spread (catalyst) during breakfast.
Meanwhile, the rich students often spiced their breakfast with “delicacies” like chocolate spread, sardines, margarine, cheese, jam, peanut butter in addition to what the school provided for breakfast.
Whatever the case, I loved pears and even when I had some margarine, I didn't mind having some pears, as well. Now that I can afford a variety of items for breakfast, I still have a craving for pears.
Looking back, I wish I ate pears (avocados) every single day given the food values you can derive from the fruits. Today, I can barely find them. When I do, they cost so much.