Jumping the broom is performed as part of a traditional West African wedding. It signifies “jumping into domesticity” as two people and their families join together in marriage.
Leap Day occurs once every four years to make up for the fact that the natural world isn’t easily divisible into 24 hour chunks 365 times a year in the Gregorian calendar.
Jumping and leaping are kind of the same thing so I thought for this Meatless Monday on Leap Day and the last day of Black History Month, I’d give a shout out to some traditional West African foods that may be found at a wedding reception.
Jollof rice is a tomato-based dish containing thyme, garlic and other spices. It is often made with meat but of course, can be easily made vegetarian with the omission of any animal product. Add in an assortment of vegetables for extra colour, fibre and nutrients. Jollof rice is thought to be the precursor to jambalaya. Check out this recipe from the Vegan Nigerian site:
Often served along jollof rice is fried plantain. Plantain is the starchy cousin to the banana and cannot be eaten raw. It often plays the role of potato on the dinner plate.
For a healthier version, bake the plantain instead. Peel 1 plantain and slice with a mandolin on medium setting. Coat the slices with oil (grapeseed is best) and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Place on baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 300°F oven for roughly 35 minutes. Once brown, fragrant and mostly crisp, remove from oven. If not completely crisp, turn off the heat and leave in the oven with the door slightly ajar. The residual heat will get them to the desired crispy state.