Friday, September 15, 2017

An African Wedding (Excerpt from "Disciples of Fortune")

He proposed to her that same night.
One month of frantic preparations in the Bamileké and Beti traditions brought the marriage to its final stage. They wedded in the Catholic Church in Banganté.
The afternoon sun was still bright in the sky when the bride and groom emerged from the Catholic Church in Banganté, basking in the glory of their wedding day. They shook hands with the well-wishers, smiled widely in appreciation of the wishes and blessings offered, broke up laughing every now and then when someone cracked a very funny joke, exchanged warm words with the curious and concerned around, and took photographs for the memory of the day.
Mami Njike looked amusingly felicitous, priding herself with the running success of the wedding. She sounded like someone fully in control of the situation as she gave out orders for the crowd to make way for the newly wedded couple and their troupers to saunter through to the waiting cars for the drive to the reception.
Hans and Averill rode in a Renault car to the family compound in Banganté. With preparations for the wedding party carried out to utmost perfection, Nana Njike was certain the five hundred-plus guests expected that day would be more than taken care of. He was expecting well-wishers from Douala, Yaoundé, Kribi, Nkongsamba, and Mbanga; and he was also expecting guests from several places in the Bamilekéland, the Noun region, the Adamawa highlands and even from British Cameroons.
The compound was already crowded by 14:00 hours that afternoon, justifying the need for the extra benches that Nana Njike requested at the last minute from the king’s palace, and from families and meeting groups in Banganté and nearby. However, it became evident that there would be a shortage of sitting place, which even though not yet at a crisis point, would become a major inconvenience in the next couple of hours. There were tables at various spots in the large compound holding jugs of palm wine, pots of corn beer and kwacha, imported beer and spirits, and large dishes and pots of cooked food.
The percussionists became ferocious with the beating of their drums and rattles at around 15:00 hours. Men, women, and children left their seats and standing positions, and then formed a circle around the drummers, moving their legs and body in sync with the rhythm. The song they sang and danced to was about a legendary or mythical Bamileké ruler who escaped the sweep of the mounted and marauding Fulani warriors with three wives and several followers.
Lore holds that he trekked across inhospitable lands with his people, and that he arrived in the South, in the Western High Plateau, where he began the search for a place to build a home. Called the leopard king by many, the great leader finally built a village whose exact location has become a source of controversy in the Bamilekéland. Some groups hold that the settlement was situated between two rivers while others maintain that its location is between a river and a lake. However, the majority of the people of Bangoua considered themselves the direct descendants of the leopard king. Not far away is Bangou where the people hold a rival claim of their own that the leopard king moved his settlement there from Bangoua, which he named Bangou, a shorter version of Bangoua. But then, the people of the realm of Batie lay claim to a leopard king of their own called Ngoua, who could have passed through Bangoua and Bangou before settling in Batie with his favorite wife, whence he founded a dynasty.
Now, the drummers and singers were asking the legendary king to bless Hans and his freshly-wedded wife by making them successful in their efforts to create a family in his name. When the song came to an end, some of the women ululated for a while as if they were trying to make a point. Their activity allowed the dancers to recede to their seats and rest stands while the drummers laid aside their drums and rattle sticks. It was then that Nana Njike emerged from the house to the cheerful applause of the wedding guests. He waved at them with mixed joy and gratitude, shook the hands offered, embraced the bodies that fell on him and exchanged words with the happy faces that spoke to him. That so many people turned up to bless his first son in his new conjugal engagement was a benevolent gesture he found overwhelming. He was thankful that there was enough to drink and eat, plus a clear sky to make it a day to remember.
Nana Njike looked satisfied when he mounted the podium in the portico where the wedding couple and their troupers were seated. He greeted the bride and her parents, patted Hans and his best man Alex on their shoulders, and then addressed the guests.
He thanked them for honoring their invitations by showing up in their great numbers for the wedding of their son and brother to a daughter from afar. That Averill had found a home among them as their daughter and sister was an achievement that the Njike family cherished. He sounded like an orator as he told them about Hans and Averill. He told them that Averill’s parents wanted him to tell their story, something he did to the warm applause of the crowd.
Nana Njike was beaming with smiles as he moved up to the table in front of the bride and groom, poured a horn-full of palm wine, muttered words in solicitation of the blessings of their ancestors, and then poured some of the drink on the ground as a libation. He handed the rest to Averill, before he passed it over to Hans. The crowd roared good-humoredly as he too drank from the horn.
He dished out platefuls of the plantain dish called Kondre and handed them to Averill and Hans to more cheers and applause from the crowd. More ululating followed as the young couple started eating. Then he moved to the edge of the podium and addressed the people again, first in the dialect spoken in Banganté, then in French, and later in English―urging the guests to enjoy themselves with the provisions of the wedding. He was overjoyed when the people heeded his call and closed in on the food and drinks. The drummers went back to work moments after. The wedding party was now in full swing.
Hardly three hours into the evening, Mami Njike realized that the beer and palm wine would run out before the later hours of the day. She felt tired and worried. The activities of the past two days had overworked her to the edge of her nerves, and the excitement of the day had only worsened it. Still, she was enthusiastic. Even though she was conscious of the fact that something needed to be done about the shortage, she, all the same, sagged into a chair at a corner on the verandah and rested her chin on her right fist, making the effort to put her thoughts together for a solution to the impending crisis.
Just as it dawned on her that the corner was providing more rest than a solution to the problem at hand, the drumming stopped, followed by an exchange of drummers. She watched the former drummers move up to their table for food and refreshment and was amused by the mounds that developed on their plates and bowls. But she did not mind. There was more than enough food for the occasion.
Niatcham, a popular drummer from the Banganté village of Kijifou, joined the new drummers. He settled in the lone chair behind the drums, picked up his sticks and started striking a gentle note on his wooden drum. The other drummers followed suit as the tempo increased. The moving effect of the music spurred men, women and even children to their feet as they shouted with glee and delight. Shrilling sounds could be heard from a distance as a circle formed around the drummers.
The upsurge in the festive spirit around excited Mami Njike to the point where she defied her tiredness and joined the growing circle. The popular foot dance called the tam-mbo’uh was in motion, with its graceful and funny dengue-like movements.
Mami Njike did not dance for long before she realized that the sudden jump in the festive mood around provided an opportunity to work on her supply of booze. So, she slipped out of the circle and started searching for her boys in a hurry. She found Philip and Nkabyo drinking beer and beckoned them over. Paul joined them hardly a minute after and looked amazed when she told him to go away. His immediate protest won his brothers’ support, forcing Mami Njike to relent and let him rejoin them.
Nkabyo raised his eyebrows inquiringly at her mother. “Are you trying to tell us that you have already chosen wives for us? You Bamileké women never stop trying to weave wives into the lives of your sons,” he joked.
Mami Njike laughed despite herself. “Ah, Solomon! What gives you a think I’m inconsiderate to the point of being willing to make the life of another woman’s daughter miserable, knowing that you think it is not a man’s job to split wood for a woman, even if she happens to be his mother?”
“A price you must pay. Yes, you will pay dearly for that. Don’t complain when you run out of firewood for the first time,” Nkabyo joked again.
Mami Njike smiled and rested her left arm on his shoulder. “I want you boys to drive to Bangoua and buy us some more drinks. You can even proceed to Batoufam if there is a need for that. Nkepseu will drive you there.”...


Monday, September 11, 2017

The 100 richest Dietary sources of Polyphenols

This is an application of the Phenol-Explorer database

J Pérez-Jiménez, V Neveu, F Vos and A Scalbert

Table 1. Polyphenol and antioxidant content in the 100 richest foods (mg per 100 g or mg per 100 ml)

FoodFood groupPolyphenols aPolyphenols AE aAntioxidants b
ClovesSeasonings15 188115 188116 0471
Peppermint, driedSeasonings11 96027920298026
Star aniseSeasonings5460354603181016
Cocoa powderCocoa products3448432944110424
Mexican oregano, driedSeasonings2319521375
Celery seedSeasonings20946100710
Black chokeberryFruits1756714327175217
Dark chocolateCocoa products1664816186186013
Flaxseed mealSeeds1528c91220c8
Black elderberryFruits13591080413195012
Common sage, driedSeasonings1207128931229208
Rosemary, driedSeasonings10181352214251910
Spearmint, driedSeasonings956144911865753
Common thyme, driedSeasonings8781546419181515
Lowbush blueberryFruits836164961547135
Black oliveVegetables569193202211753
Highbush blueberryFruits560202952320540
Pecan nutSeeds4932249317181614
Soy flourSeeds4662326727
Green oliveVegetables346252332816147
Sweet basil, driedSeasonings322261663443174
Curry, powderSeasonings2852728525107525
Sweet cherryFruits274281453814448
Globe artichoke headsVegetables2602915435114223
Roasted soybeanSeeds2463115336
Milk chocolateCocoa products236322362785428
Red chicoryVegetables235341314112951
Red raspberryFruits215351074698027
Coffee, filterNon-alcoholic beverages214361104526737
Ginger, driedSeasonings202372023047332
Whole grain hard wheat flourCereals201c38201c2118646
Black grapeFruits169411244220541
Red onionVegetables1684299509160
Green chicoryVegetables1664311744
Common thyme, freshSeasonings1634411843117323
Refined maize flourCereals153c45153c3710259
Soy, tempehSeeds1484610148
Whole grain rye flourCereals143c47143c397266
Lemon verbena, driedSeasonings1065110647
Black teaNon-alcoholic beverages10252905210458
Red wineAlcoholic beverages10153915121539
Green teaNon-alcoholic beverages895482536267
Soy yogurtSeeds84555160
Yellow onionVegetables745649617564
Soy meatSeeds73574763
Whole grain wheat flourCereals71c5871c549061
Pure apple juiceNon-alcoholic beverages685961573475
Pure pomegranate juiceNon-alcoholic beverages6660376420443
Extra-virgin olive oilOils626133675570
Black beanSeeds59623666139020
Pure blood orange juiceNon-alcoholic beverages566428717267
Pure grapefruit juiceNon-alcoholic beverages536623765472
White beanSeeds5167316913849
Chinese cinnamonSeasonings48684862
Pure blond orange juiceNon-alcoholic beverages46692081
Soy tofuSeeds42722574
Pure lemon juiceNon-alcoholic beverages42732082
Whole grain oat flourCereals37c7437c658265
Refined rye flourCereals31c7731c704574
Ceylan cinnamonSeasonings2781277390702
Parsley, driedSeasonings25822575158418
Curly endiveVegetables24841587
Marjoram, driedSeasonings238522783,8465
Red lettuceVegetables2386148811458
Chocolate beverage with milkNon-alcoholic beverages21872180
Endive (Escarole)Vegetables18891191
Soy milkNon-alcoholic beverages18901192
Pure pummelo juiceNon-alcoholic beverages18917.997
Rapeseed oilOils179217841878
Soybean sproutSeeds15941095
Green grapeFruits15957.69812255
Soy cheeseSeeds12987.699
White wineAlcoholic beverages10998.6963277
Rosé wineAlcoholic beverages101007.8988263
 Abbreviation: AE, (polyphenols as) aglycone equivalents.
a Sum of the content of individual polyphenols as determined by chromatography and of proanthocyanidin oligomers as determined by direct-phase high-performance liquid chromatography.
b Determined by the Folin assay. Some foods with a high antioxidant content as determined by the Folin assay are not included in the table due the absence of documented data on their polyphenol content as obtained by chromatography. Their antioxidant contents are as follows: lentils (6553 mg/100 g), dried oregano (5452 mg/100 g), dried summer savory (4512 mg/100 g), dried sweet bay (4170 mg/100 g), dried camomile (2483 mg/100 g), dried coriander (2260 mg/100 g), fenugreek (2250 mg/100 g), dried winter savory (1880 mg/100 g), pistachio (1490 mg/100 g), hyssop (1623 mg/100 g), red swiss chard leaves (1320 mg/100 g), dried dill (1250 mg/100 g), raisin (1065 mg/100 g), broad bean seeds (1039 mg/100 g), black pepper spice (1000 mg/100 g), fresh peppermint (980 mg/100 g), black raspberry (980 mg/100 g), fig (960 mg/100 g), fresh oregano (953 mg/100 g), fresh lemon balm (900 mg/100 g), fenugreek seed (830 mg/100 g), white swiss chard leaves (830 mg/100 g), white pepper spice (780 mg/100 g), fresh tarragon (570 mg/100 g), peanut butter (536 mg/100 g), bilberry (525 mg/100 g), dried date (488 mg/100 g), green pepper spice (380 mg/100 g).
c Polyphenol content determined by chromatography after hydrolysis of the glycosides and esters.