IBOM SOUP WAR: SEE REASONS ‘AFANG’, ATAMA SOUPS TEAMS’ CHARTS MAY NEVER STABILIZE
Trendy recently on social media is the ‘Ibom Soup War’ where Akwaibomites and their fellow Crossriverians have engaged in discussion on why ‘Afang’ and ‘Atama’ soups, their local delicacies, are the best of their choices as they break into teams.
What started like a mere social media conversation on which is the most preferred delicacy in soup category in the Ibibio/Efik menu has suddenly turned into a serious discussion where Akwa/Cross indigenes have come openly to declare stands on their preferred soup dish.
Looking at the ingredients, procedure, presentation/taste and health benefits of these soup delicacies, both ‘Afang’ and ‘Atama’ teams may still have many factors to consider to come by a stable decision.
Considering the euphoria of the ‘Afang’ team which happen to be the most popular at the time, and charts going up, health-minders see it laughable as they focus only on taste and presentation.
Aside the sweet savour of ‘Afang’ and easy method of preparation, ‘Afang’ is said to be a vegetable which conducts internal heat in human system and hard by nature which is why ‘Water-Leaf’ another vegetable which is soft and watery is used to termed it to have a more subtle taste.
Even with this combination, it is still alleged to have a causative effect of internal heat. This is the reason many people who may have been ‘Afang’ fans early in their life, withdraw patronage and goodwill. This is why you see a dropping curve in families’ ‘Food-Charts’ in a long run.
But in events, ‘Afang’ is most preferred for presentation and entertainment, not because it is the most expensive or healthy, but ingredients are easy to come by and cheaper in large quantity to carter for the menu need for a large crowd.
‘Afang’ soup’s ingredients are not neck-breaking as many can make the soup with just few ingredients without much difference in taste.
The final product depends on the ingenuity of the cook. Some appear appealing to the eyes and taste; while others also depend on the cook as it can either attract or repel a eater with it’s already compounding case of causing internal heat.
This is one Ibibio/Efik soup delicacy which is not often prepared in homes or presented in occasions not because it is not delicious or healthy.
Its rare outing simply speaks of its class and procedural method of preparing it.
It health benefits abounds and its freshness can last longer than its ‘Afang’ counterpart.
It is made from a special leaf called ‘Atama’ in Ibibio dialect and it broth base from ripe ‘Palm Fruits’ otherwise called (Banga) by the Igbos.
‘Atama’ leaf has various species. There are ones that are quite bitter and other ones not really bitter; but the bitter content of the leaf has proven to be beneficial to health as it helps to softens the belly and cools the body.
To bring out the taste of ‘Atama’ soup as it is a light soup which is only thickened by the squeezed ‘Banga’ liquid; the cook need to make it a special menu which must be attended to not with attitude given to its ‘Afang’ counterpart.
Here, much ingredients are needed to help boost the thickening of the broth. Much protein ranging from meat to seafoods are needed to activate the ‘King’ of soups embedded in ‘Atama’ by nature.
Its leaves are treated with care by its cook as it is already tender. Some after cutting it into fine-tiny slices, further chopped it into more tiny slices. Some pound it. But the best is slicing it because it is tender already to maintain it natural greenish nature.
Many who wants to keep the natural bitter content can only reduce a bit of it by washing the leaf with cold water. This is when the cook go for lesser bitter specie.
This special soup menu in some families have a rising-curve in their food charts as they may have not appreciated it early in the family as ‘King’ both in health and taste. They may have keyed into the sentiment of ‘Afang’ team only to discover the entire truth about ‘Afang’ and take a U-turn to the ‘King’ of health and taste.
There are many ways and method of cooking ‘Atama’ leaf. Aside from preparing it with ‘Banga,’ many prepare it with melon and water-leaf. Our Igbo brothers can try it as a leaf in their groundnut soup.
Its naturalness last longer than its ‘Afang’ counterpart which the cook most be careful to maintain. Even at that, ‘Afang’ does not pity its cook to ‘just be calming down’ and remain in it natural state. It may try on the first serve but withers fast away on the next round.
However, Ibibios are blessed with many other healthy and tasty soups on their menu in the likes of; ‘Editan-soup’; ‘Afia-Efere’; ‘Mkpafere Soup’; ‘Ibaba-Soup’; ‘Vegetable soup'(made from pumkin leaf and water-leaf); ‘Bitter-leaf Soup’; ‘Melon -Soup’; ‘Okro-Soup’ (These can be made from several leaves – greens, garden egg leaves, pumpkin leaves, etc).
There are so many!
Add yours but remember eating habit has evolved as people eat based on what is good to their health not really on how the ‘Soup’ or food taste.
They don’t want to sign their death warrant through unhealthy meals.
©Written by Enwono-Abasi Elisha.