In Summary
  • Turns out I subconsciously inherited that skill and carried it into parenthood, only that I was keen enough to make it smoother, lighter, laced with additives and enough sugar.
  • Even with all the love I put into it, the young man I call son hated that porridge with his all, always spitting out the first sip followed by a major tantrum whenever I tried feeding him.

I grew up on porridge. It was thick, brown, whole meal with hints of sugar, sitting in a plastic cup with holders on both sides like an angry woman standing arms akimbo.

Cool-kid additives like margarine or processed milk were non-existent. Then again how on earth would a whole Luhya mother pour cow milk in porridge when she could use the same for her evening tea, essentially to help generate breastmilk for you to suckle?

LAW ON MARGARINE

I will not even talk about margarine; the law was very clear. So you would swallow that paste under duress, a pair of slippers nearby to urge you on and scary eyes staring right into yours for reinforcement.

Each spoonful was offered alongside harsh instructions, “fungua mdomo . . . haya meza! Fungua hii mdomo vizuri nitakutandika! Meza haraka!” One of the slippers would be raised in the air to remind you there was a brutal way to make you obey and swallow as fast as possible.

By the time the mug was empty you were full to the throat and burping indecent things, then the task to slide pieces of soap in your rear to ease constipation would commence.

That porridge was more of punishment than nourishment.

Turns out I subconsciously inherited that skill and carried it into parenthood, only that I was keen enough to make it smoother, lighter, laced with additives and enough sugar.

Even with all the love I put into it, the young man I call son hated that porridge with his all, always spitting out the first sip followed by a major tantrum whenever I tried feeding him.

For a man with breasts the size of a green gram and the mother 3,300 kilometers away, that was a huge setback to my weaning program. My good mother got wind of my struggles and threw in her massive experience, reckoning she was as sure as death her grandson wanted whole meal porridge and not the stupid things I was making.

So she went round the fertile farms of Vihiga handpicking the best millet, sorghum and groundnuts for the young man named after her husband.

They were mixed, sun dried and ground into grade one flour at the same posho mill that floured my porridge when I was still a baby.

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