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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Humor: Student mistakes my “ethnic food” for foul-smelling feet


Toe jam or rice and stew?

From Japanese cuisine to Indian delicacies, pungent odor seems to be the common issue for Americans — dare I say white people — when they walk past a meal that smells like pure struggle. Though delicious, Americans often judge the foods of immigrants as stinky with a bucket-load of seasoning.

Unfortunately, I experienced a flustering situation a couple weeks back that had to do with my Nigerian food. Now, I know you’re wondering: “Africa isn’t a country?” No, you silly goose, it’s a continent.

To continue, when I’m craving comfort food, I’ll make some red palm oil stew and white rice with a side of plantain, if I’m feeling fancy. I didn’t mind the smells growing up because I wasn’t aware of them — that is, until I decided to bring my precious food into the harsh confines of the CoHo.

As I was reviving my mouth-watering plate of rice and stew in the microwave, I started to notice harsh eyes glare at me then down to the microwave. I tried to put it off and thought the stares were a result of the dandy fit that I had on at the time.

I quickly realized, however, that the stares were due to my delectable meal when I heard someone say, “Yo, who took off their shoes?! It smells like a soiled sock in here.” That comment clung to me like the smell brewing in the CoHo. I wasn’t embarrassed; I was simply shocked that someone would say that comment so boldly in such a public setting.

After my food was hot and ready for me to devour, I decided to sit in the area where I heard that comment and leisurely eat my rice and stew, knowing that the lingering smell was clinging to every fiber of their beings until it seeped into their pores.


Written by: Hilary Ojinnaka — hiojinnaka@ucdavis.edu

(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)


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