I like pizza. I am also some kind of vegetarian. I don’t actually know if there’s a definite class for it yet, but I don’t eat meat. I do, however, eat eggs and all seafood, and diary products. It’s not pescatarian, it’s not strictly lacto-vegetarian, it’s not ovo-vegetarian. Whatever. I’m going to stick to calling myself a ‘flexitarian’ because it’s more encapsulating.
If you want to become a vegetarian for fun in Ghana, chale, it won’t work. But if you’re like me and you genuinely can’t stomach the meat – as in, the thing you have chewed refuses to go down your throat – then your life, like mine, will be problematic.
My brother likes pizza too. The problem is, he likes meat. But…must man always order two pizzas every time Ivana and Delali want to eat some? It shouldn’t be so, right?
Everywhere else I’ve been, it has never been a problem. When you order a pizza, you just tell them to make half-pepperoni, half-margarita, and bam, you’re sorted, so eat up!
In Ghana, it’s always a different story. Once I open my mouth to suggest a half-pepperoni to any of these pizza people, they look at me like I just ordered a Martian from Venus. Time and time again, I am met with a response such as, “No, we can’t do that,” or “I’m sorry, it’s not possible.”
Not possible? NOT POSSIBLE?! Sure, man, it’s not possible to sprinkle pepperoni on only half of a pizza instead of all of it (and still have me pay the same price)! Yes, it is possible. You’re just a doofus, ya doofus! …But of course, I never say that. But chale picking the pepperoni off the pizza gets tiring.
Aside from the pizza ranting, I have one more story to share .It’s about a family member, but not my Grandpa this time. This story is about Chalz Quesy Ofori, my uncle, who regularly goes by the nickname Q. (Don’t ask me why he changed the spellings of his names. How should I know? How does on understand an Ofori? Oh stop your accusatory stares; I know what I said.)
I don’t remember where exactly this story took place, whether in Ghana, USA or Singapore, but I do remember the content, and I think about it whenever I think about my pizza struggle. Here’s how it goes:
One day, Uncle Q walked into a café. A waitress greeted him with a table and a menu. Q didn’t have to glance at the menu to know what he wanted. He didn’t touch it.
“I’ll have a cup of hot milk, please,” said Q.
**Insert earlier comment about Martian from Venus**
“Hot milk?” questioned the waitress.
Isn’t that what I said? thought Q. “Yes. Hot milk.” He spoke slowly this time, to make sure he didn’t stumble over his words, in case he had before.
The waitress was still confused. “I can’t get you hot milk,” she said.
Q raised his eyebrows. “You can’t? Why ever not?”
“It’s not on the menu.”
It was Q’s turn to be baffled. It wasn’t on the menu, and so what? Was it so impossible to heat milk and put it in a cup? He said as much to the waitress, who, again, responded with the same, stubborn “It’s not on the menu” excuse.
Q sighed. He was going to have to do this the hard way. But if she insisted on letting him make her feel stupid…
“Fine,” Q said. “In that case, may I have a cappuccino?”
[Background info: A cappuccino is a drink of espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam.]
The waitress was finally at ease. “Yes, sir, we can do that.”
“Wonderful. May I, however, have the cappuccino without the foam?”
“Of course.” After all, many customers frequently requested that they hold back on the foam.
“Oh, one last thing,” said Q. “I’d also like the cappuccino without the coffee. Can you do that?”
She frowned. “Yes, I suppose we could do that.”
“Great. I’ll have a cappuccino with no foam and no coffee.”
The waitress went and came back with a cup of hot milk. The moral of the story? Ofori always wins.
This is the part where I say: I love my family and you can’t be like us.
-I. Akotowaa (and, proudly) Ofori