Is Egusi A Soup Or A Sauce?: How I Lost An Argument To A 12-Year Old

By Ikenga Chronicles March 6, 2017

— Vitus Ozoke

Last night, I honored a dinner invitation by a Nigerian family friend. On the table was a big bowl of pounded yam and a big bowl of egusi soup. After meal prayer was said by the daddy of the house, everybody but Kobe, their 12—year old son, proceeded to get a cut of the pounded yam and some scoops of egusi soup into their plates. Kobe did not go for the pounded yam; he went straight for the egusi soup; scooped quite a quantity into his bowl; and proceeded to drink and leak it with a spoon. It was then that this exchange ensued:

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Me: Hey, buddy, you are wasting the soup…

Kobe: How? What do you mean?

Me: You are drinking the soup without eating the pounded yam…

Kobe: How is that a waste? What am I wasting, the soup or the garri? (he calls everything garri)

Me: (already feeling boxed in) The soup

Kobe: But I’m drinking it, how can that be wasting it?

Me: Sorry, the garri…

Kobe: How can I waste it when I don’t eat it? If I don’t eat it, doesn’t that mean that I save enough for the rest of you to eat?

Me: (not sure if it was me or the air was no longer working) Kobe, you eat the garri with the soup…

Kobe: Why, Uncle? If egusi is a soup, as you say it is, then it does not have to be taken with anything. You drink it like you drink other soups…like chicken noodle soup, Chinese rice soup, creamy tortilla, carrot soup, broccoli and potato soup, gumbo soup….

Me: Will you stop listing soups, you are not a chef! (his smartness was becoming irritating)

Kobe: Sorry, Uncle, but I’m just saying… What you are saying will make sense only if egusi were a sauce. You use a sauce to eat something else. Do you think egusi is a soup or a sauce, Uncle?

Me: (eager to end the intellectual assault by a 12—year old) I think egusi is a sauce, not a soup…

Kobe: So why do Nigerians call it a soup?

Me: Kobe, will you stop bothering me! Pass me the sauce…pass me the egusi sauce

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And between Kobe and me, I’m supposed to be the adult, the professor, and the lawyer. How did we end up calling egusi a soup, instead of the sauce that it clearly is? It’s time to question old knowledge, my friends.

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