When people say “do not judge a book by its cover,”  it looks far fetched until you have an experience that totally transforms your thinking in every way possible and gives life to the old adage.
This was my experience when I met Ms. Annie Eka,  a ” just there” and unassuming kinda girl (I mean that in a good way) with her warm, friendly and receptive persona to go with. I think it runs in the family as her mother who is a retired nurse is also like that. I met her on the trip as well.
You would literally think we’ve known one another for a long time though we only had for a few hours; ironically though, we have mutual friends because Uyo isn’t that large. Every body knows everybody in the city.
Chef Annie is someone I’d refer to as the “Box-it Princess” of the South because she enjoys cooking the local healthy meals which she does amazingly well. “Box it” is an Akwa Ibom’s figurative expression which implies the act or venture of building a meal; turns out there are meals you cook and they are others you build (I didn’t know that). This may end up being her forte if she sticks with it.
On the menu during my visit, she prepared “Otò Mboro,” a popular local meal and one of the best exports from Akwa Ibom; prepared with unripe banana, dry fish, vegetables, palm oil etc. Now while growing up in the south, this meal was mostly “boxed up” for pregnant women, new mothers and children. She even said that if she wanted to put on some weight (she’s a model, gerrit?, she would eat that, as it is very healthy and nourishing.
She also made an amazing combo of boiled unripe banana and some kind of hand made pepper sauce. The feeling from tasting these meals was simply unparalleled (don’t tell anybody I ate. I’m watching my weight, lol).
Everything was seasoned appropriately in the right measure and oh her pomo (cow skin) ‘knows the Lord.’  The meals were so delicious, I almost asked for extra but didn’t want to disgrace my village people, so I was content with what I  was given.
If you ever need a local meal hook up, Annie Eka is the perfect solution to your taste bud’s dilemma. Believe me, you’ll not be disappointed in any way as she has a charming persona with a great sense of humour to go with it, so what’s not to love? Your experience will be a wow.
To reach her, follow her on all social media platforms using her name “Annie Eka.”
Finally, I think that the future and solution to a lot of our health woes as Africans, lies in us embracing our local meals and eating them more often. They are healthier than the things we’ve replaced them with and will definitely increase our life expectancy. I said so. Selah!