© Holyns Hogan,2022
THE OLDEST EFIK SOUP: A CASE FOR EDITAN/ERITAN: THE ELDER SISTER OF AFAÑ
© Holyns Hogan,2022
Recall that I treated Efik cuisine in the first part of this article and stated everything that is naturally there to know about them in history; from the most popular global and continental types; to the least or very common local or casual types that are hardly heard or tasted by this generation. Also, that, I included therein the different types of Efik soups and their respective methods of preparation.
However, I deliberately excluded/reserved some equally vital info for this second part of the lesson. In this part, I specifically attempt to uncover the oldest Efik major soup and why it is arguably so in history and logic.
Though very true that writers and interested researchers can hardly tell the oldest Efik soup because they clearly lack written historical records to that effect, it can still be learnedly inferred from oral literature that the Efik saying-“editan ösöñö afañ” (by its unquestionable historical fame), figuratively crowns editan as the oldest of all Efik soups in history.
This thought learnedly inclines to, and is asserted by oral literature that Efik prehistoric ancestors (like other hominidae) originally ate vegetables and herbal plant leaves with highly nutritional and medicinal values or impacts. Thus, it follows implicitly that Editan and Afañ are the oldest Efik soups because they are the only ones specified in the order of comparative seniority by referred ancient Efik popular oral tradition.
Agreed that “ata nsuto iyak”, the popular Efik children play/ recital equally infers that since Efik are mainly riverine people in history, settlements, or naturalization, it can be argued that “efere ndek iyak” is amongst their earliest soups. Yet, not in the same sense that editan is clearly specified in oral literature.
Agreed also that some critics argue that editan is solely an Ibibio soup because it had never been popular with the Efik as the Ibibio. Yet, it has never been empirically/historically proven that editan is not equally grown, valued and eaten by the Efik…as the Ibibio. They also fail to tell us, with exactness, the oldest Efik soup. The exact issue with their argument, criticism or claim that editan is not equally Efik.
Bear in mind that afañ, like edikañ iköñ and afia efere is amongst Efik topmost, globally-famous cuisine/most preferred soups that is equally affordable to everyone, according to individual’s taste, status, interest or pocket. Therefore, if afañ that is so highly rated and more popular than editan can be so humbled as being younger than editan in history, then editan has a good historical case as Efik oldest “offical soup”. “Official” is used here to mean approved or authorized Efik soup.
Note that fluted pumpkin vegetable (iköñ uböñ) from where edikañ iköñ soup is made, recently recorded [figuratively] in Efik oral literature when the late Kingsley Bustic sang “eso ebihi uwem etem enañ ekuñ, oyom ndikpa etem iköñ uböñ”.
Arguably, other original Efik cuisine/soups as edikañ iköñ, afia efere, ikon, anyan ekpañ and ekpañ ñkukwö etc, evolved at about the same time…, or shortly after the advent of editan and afañ soups, hence predated by the duo. Kindly restrict all criticisms to the context of editan’s treatment as Efik oldest soup based on referred oral history. Also,, whether right or wrong, the idea is not a conclusion… but an open debatable “case for Editan”. Thus it is left for interested critics to convincingly proof otherwise, using recorded historical/oral literature reference (s) to justify claim.
Meanwhile, Efik cuisine, amongst other things, classify broadly as “Se Ebökde Bök, Se Etemde Tem, ye Se Etade ta”. This classification is basically drawn from the production and consumption methods/ forms of what is defined or presented as Efik cuisine.
1. SE ETEMDE TEM
This generally refers to all Efik cuisine that is prepared, produced or presented in potage or poridge form as iwuk edesi, iwuk abia, iwuk uköm, ukañ uköm, ekpañ ñkukwö, anyan ekpañ, ötö, ököti, mkpöñ, edidia iwa etc. Little wonder “tem” is often rightly used when cooking them eg. Tem edesi isip (cook coconut rice).
2. SE EBÖKDE BÖK
This broadly infers and covers everything that is cooked as soup or is meant to be used for swallowing fufu, garri or pounded yam balls. Eg. efere afañ, efere ibaba, efere mkpa, efere ötöñ, efere iyak and afia efere etc. No wonder it is said “bök efere”, to mean cook soup in Efik
3. SE ETADE TA
This is where the likes of edita iwa, unam ebua, edi ye nsat unam/iyak, prepared as delicacy or barbecue fall within. Kindly note that despite being equally “tem” or presented as what is “tem” or has “tem” in their production processes, ebua and edi are equally classified as “se etade ta” because they mainly come in chewable forms as Efik delicacy, particularly when eaten with boiled or roasted plantain.
Finally note that 1-3 above are generally considered as SE EDIADE DIA, hence needless to specify it as 4.
HAVE YOUR SAY!
Photo Credit: the original source (s) .