Ugali: My apologies

Hallo, wie geht’s? (Hello, how are you?)

It’s always a pleasure to have you.

In this post I speak (or rather write) about the most common food in Kenya, present in many homesteads, some more than others. To some, it is sometimes the only option. I speak of ugali, a simple, quick to make delicacy (I exaggerate but please let me be for now) made out of ground maize meal and enjoyed with a variety of accompaniments, most frequent of which is sukuma wiki.

Many are the times when parties or weekend drinking sprees start with ‘nyama choma na ugali’ (roasted meat and ugali), the other accompaniment choices being chips (pommes frites) and mukimo.

Nyama choma na ugali

Nyama choma

With introductions aside, its time for the apologies. The forces of demand and supply conspired to have it that the more available something is, the lesser it is appreciated and the easier it is for it to be taken for granted. It is funny because normally, something that is ever present in your life affects you more that the occasional one. It is more a part of who you are and you are therefore supposed to revere it more. Sadly, most of us take the ever present things, or food for my case, for granted, flirting with that specific thing that looks scarce, out of reach and therefore seemingly more appealing.

It is no coincidence that in his book 48 laws of power, law number 16, Robert Greene talks of using absence to increase respect and honour. Unfortunately, sometimes being ever present has the undesired effect of being ‘ignored’ and taken for granted.

I must have done that with ugali because, though it is a meal i have always liked, i cannot remember when i was totally over the moon after a plate of ugali, the reason being that it was always there and i didn’t necessarily have to pick it over a myriad of other foods. The fuss was mostly about the accompaniments, for example the pork at our favorite Serengeti pork centre joint along the Ruiru bypass.

For this i am truly sorry. I realise now that it played as big a part in me enjoying the meals as the accompaniments did.

Appreciate that simply made ugali from those local Soko and Pembe brands because like many other things, you realise its value when you can hardly get it. Next time, ask for twice the amount for no particular reason apart from, because you can!

And please don’t talk about the maize flour at the Turkish shops (here in Germany) because it is never the same!

Right now, I could eat ugali with zero accompaniments!

Till next time,



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