One of the duties of a wife in the Christian home is the planning of the meals which the family will take in the course of the week. Planning of the meals is very important because it helps the wife to economise the ?chop money?. Besides, it helps her to cook varieties of meals to satisfy the appetite of the husband and this can deepen his love for the wife.

In making the menu for the family, the housewife will have to consider several things. First of all, she must scribble down the kind of meals the family prefers best. She can list them down: for example, fufu, ?banku?, ?akple?, yam, ?ampesi?, ?gari?, roasted ripe plantain, roasted groundnut, light corn porridge (kookoo), heavy corn porridge (egbeemi), rice water, drinking beverages like Milo, tea, cocoa and so on.

Then she will have to sit down at a table with her husband, and plan out which meals they prefer to eat on Sunday morning, afternoon and evening; Monday morning, afternoon and evening, and so on.

In doing this, they must take into consideration the types of food which their children cannot take for health reasons, like tea and coffee. Sometimes one child may not naturally like a type of food. I know a child whose bodily constitution does not permit any solid corn food:  thus when he eats banku or kenkey, he vomits it out, but when he eats such liquid corn meals as kookoo or egbeemi, he feels all right. In such an exceptional case, some substitute meals will have to be found for the child, and that may be indicated or marked on the menu.

Let?s take a typical menu of a middle class Akan worker as a guide:

Menu of Xom Family

Morning                                          Afternoon              Evening    

Sunday                                  Drinking of beverages & bread         ? Kenkey & stew  ? Fufu & soup                                      

Monday                                 Rice water & bread                             ? Any meals          ? Banku & stew

Tuesday                                 Corn porridge (kookoo) & bread      –   ?          ?              ? Yam and stew

Wednesday                           Cocoa powder & bread                      –    ?         ?              ? Rice & stew

Thursday                               Drinking of beverages & bread         –    ?         ?              ? Fufu & soup

Friday                                   Rice water & bread                             –    ?         ?              ? Kenkey & stew

Saturday                               Oats & bread                                        ? Kakro & beans  ? Yam & stew      

(Breakfast)                                                  (Lunch)           (Dinner)

It must be stressed here that there is a wide variety of food items from which a family can plan its menu, some of which are: roasted ripe plantain with groundnuts, cocoyam ?ampesi?, ?gari soakings?, gari fufu, plantain ampesi, ?epitsi?, ?bolongo? (a rich Fante cake, prepared from red plantain and cooked in an oven, which is surprisingly rare these days); ?sanku dokon? (red plantain kenkey), ?kokonte?, ?yo-ke-gari?, ?mpiho/kafamho? (from cocoyam or yam), ?yakayaka?, ?bankye kakro?, ?boodoo?, ?abolo?, ?akyeke?, red-plantain ?kakro,? ?tatar? (made from red plantain), etc.

On the menu that is suggested above, the lunch column is not filled, simply because in the afternoons, various families must have already dispersed, some to their offices and others to schools, farms, market places, factories and work places. In this case, a strict afternoon menu cannot be planned for them, so meals are optional then.

In fact, with about 60 per cent of Ghanaians, the breakfast column above means nothing at all, because many people are of the belief that this ?Tea-tea? thing is only water but not food. If one drinks it about 06:30 in the morning, one feels empty and hungry about 10:30 in the morning, so one has to buy some other food to eat!? To them, heavy solid food in the morning is the real ?chop-chop? which can take them to one o?clock in the afternoon.

Others even prefer to take the once-and-for-all-heavy-food breakfast, like fufu which may carry them to four o?clock in the evening. But can morning fufu ?some call it: ?heavy tennis balls? ?take people to the evening? I don?t believe that!

Heavy food breakfast may be good for people whose work or duties demand exertion of physical strength, like farmers, fishermen, fitters, carpenters and masons. Even then, those in the ?physical fitness? game like footballers and athletes won?t find it comfortable to take heavy food in the morning.

As a matter of truth, those whose work demands mental exertion such as office workers, secretaries, lawyers, doctors, journalists, researchers, lecturers, authors, students including school children do better when they live on ?liquid-meal? breakfast such as drinking of beverages like tea, milo, cocoa, etc.

There are others who prefer not to take any breakfast at all in the morning. And this, in most cases, is the ideal thing to do. But those who choose not to take any food for breakfast at all, but would like to drink ?pito?, or palm wine or a bottle of beer ?only? for breakfast are doing more harm than good to themselves: they are injuring the linings of their intestines with the alcohol in the drinks they have taken, and soon, they will regret their action for the ulcer they are developing in their intestines!

In planning the menu, consideration must also be given to the meat or fish that should be bought. There is one interesting point about this question: there are several Christians who think that eating pork(or the meat of pigs) is not good, for it is unclean meat. Their reasons?

They quote Leviticus 11:7-8 as a text that forbids the eating of meat of pigs: ?The pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat?? There are some who even say that Christ expelled demons into pigs which threw themselves into the sea (Mark 5:11-13) and therefore to eat pork is to eat demonic meat.

But the New Testament teachings tell us that Christ? ?cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death? (Hebrew 9:13)? ?The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood?(Hebrew 9:22)? ?that no food is unclean in itself (Roman 14:14)? ?all food is clean?(Roman 14:20)etc.

In point of fact, the meat of a pig is not unclean, so every Christian can eat it, or a housewife can include it in her meals for the family.


A good Christian wife is the woman who is meek and humble to the husband and thinks about his meals; and therefore gets his meals ready on time. She is not a good Christian wife who, because of her wealth, status or education, thinks of herself as equal with the husband and thus won?t go to the kitchen to see to matters concerning meals for the husband, but only orders the maidservant or the eldest daughter to get the meals ready. Such a wife is only a nominal Christian, who is not living by what the Bible says (see 1 Peter 3:1).

In fact, most marriage counsellors agree that another best way to get to the husband?s heart is through his stomach. If a wife makes the husband go hungry, he becomes angry. So the good housewife should learn at what time her husband arrives home in the evening, so that she might get the meals ready at least ten minutes before his arrival.

During the ?week-ends? ?Saturdays and Sundays ?when he is at home, the wife is to get the breakfast, lunch and dinner ready at the time already agreed upon. She must not wait until the husband says: ?Ah, I am hungry, where is food?? before she gets up to prepare the meals. There are indeed some lazy wives who would rather sleep and sleep until the husband comes back to find her sleeping. Then upon seeing the husband arrive, any such lazy wife would get up and hurry to do the cooking. That makes the husband become annoyed. Of course, the meal must not be ready far too long before he comes back home, otherwise it would be cold, hard and unpalatable.

Now there is the question whether when the whole family are at home during the weekends or holidays, the table must be laid for all to take, say, the breakfast or dinner? I should think so, because if the husband, wife and children gather round a big dining table, that gives an atmosphere of unity or communal sharing in which all can talk, ask questions, share jokes or exchange some pleasantries, as they eat.

Such a gathering often moves any tense atmosphere in the family and intensifies fondness for each other. This is better than the situation where each person is served his or her own meals to eat alone somewhere in the house. One thing is that such ?communal? meals taken at one big table where every person eats from his or her plate do help the parents to teach children how to eat and what good manners must be observed at the dining table.

There is one extreme case of this ?communal? sharing of meals. It is when all children are gathered together and are eating from one bowl or dish. There is the tendency that the quick eaters among them will grab most of the food and munch it quickly to beat the rest, in what might be called a scramble-for-the-stomach eating!  (To be continued. )

By Apostle Kwamena Ahinful



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