A Golden Treasure

Let us tell you a story.  Food provokes powerful memories – of lack and abundance.  Of reward and punishment.  Today at a coffee morning for parents in a Lewisham primary school we heard a story about eggs as treasure.  Sharon Onumonu grew up in Imo State in Nigeria.  Remembering her childhood there, she recalled how eggs were a precious and sought after treat, enjoyed once a week at most.  Her father would use the promise of an egg as a lure to get children to complete household chores and all their homework.  Sharon would do so with complete commitment.  The thrill of an egg was a powerful incentive, the most delicious delicacy.  It was a jewel, occasionally dispersed into the vegetables and grains of their regular fried breakfast.  She would search for the fragments on those days when an egg would make an appearance, savoring each mouthful.   The abundance of eggs was one of the things that struck her about England when the family moved here in 1985.  It was there alongside the unfamiliarity of cheese and the richness of chocolate.   Yet eggs remained an evocative treasure for her, a reminder of the joy and reward of food when it is precious and rare.  She laughs and shakes her head as she tells us how she struggles to get her daughter to not only eat traditional Nigerian food, but also eggs!  For her, treasures lie elsewhere.

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