In our Africa society today some ancient food still have both cultural, social and economic value in our communities.
In Kamba tradition “Mukio” a well fermented porridge is a gateway to dowry negotiation in Kamba community. It is a compulsory necessity during dowry negotiation.
Mukio is made from dry maize, millet or sorghum which are soaked in water for some time probably for a day and then grinded to make a thick wet flour using a specific stone known as Nthiio or a tool typical of a mortar and pestle only that it is large in size. The tool is popularly known as Ndii.
The thick wet flour is left to be cooked the following day for fermenting purposes. A measured amount of water is added and stirred and then placed on the fire to boil to form the porridge. Sugar is added upon being ready. The Mukio may last for a few days without going bad.
Muthini Musango, an elderly woman from Mutomo sub-county told KNA that it is a must for the bridegroom’s family or clan to carry Mukio with them during dowry negotiation ceremonies.
“Mukio is served to everyone present at the event as a symbol that they bless the union,” Musango explained.
Musango added that Mukio is as important as traditional beer, famously known as “Karubu” by the locals. The bride has to serve her father or the elder standing in place of the her father. She is required to make a promise through the way of addressing her father that she will never disappoint him or bring disgrace to the clan.
The rest of the karubu is taken by men who in turn bless the marriage.
Mukio is still prepared in many Kamba households where it is considered as a healthy breakfast.
“It is very suitable in the morning before leaving for daily duties. It is also served to those who come back home after a long stay maybe in town as a welcoming drink. Women also make it for their husbands as an act of appreciating them,” said Musango.
Ndinda Kiema who is also an elderly woman in Kibwea location confirmed that it is also a special gift prepared for anyone who is sick as a message of quick recovery.
“Mukio is made for those who are sick to wish them quick healing. Those who have regained health after an illness are also made the porridge to celebrate the good health. In addition, mothers who have delivered are also made the porridge to congratulate them,” said Kiema.
Kiema further added that Mukio is also made for people one adores. An example is where a grandchild makes it for the grandparents when paying them visit. This simply indicates how much the grandchild adores her grandparents.
Kambas still have other fine dishes that were main meals of the past yet are still cherished today. An example is Kinaa.Kinaa grinded to make green ugali called Kitumuki by the locals. This is a tasty meal especially when served with fermented milk.