Google Doodle has turned a famous debate for West Africans into a peaceful celebration.
On Nov. 4, the search engine giant highlighted jollof rice — a popular West African dish comprising rice, blended tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices such as Maggi cubes and thyme.
“On this day each year, rice farmers plant and reap a bountiful harvest, and cooks across West Africa prepare to make fresh jollof,” Google wrote in a blog post. “Also known as benachin and thieboudienne, jollof rice is a one-pot meal that originated from the Wolof tribe in the 14th century. The Wolof Empire, ruling parts of modern-day Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania, popularized jollof throughout West Africa.”
The stop-motion animation was created by Nigeria-based visual artist Haneefah Adam.
“This is a celebration of culture—not just my culture, but of everyone who recognizes food as a conduit,” Adam shared with Google. “The diversity of how we approach food is really interesting—like how the preparation of Jollof is different in Nigeria vs. Senegal (they even have different names). This just goes to show the richness and beauty of our collective culture as a continent.”
“It’s been a privilege to shine a light on this aspect of my culture with food and I hope to be able to continue to share beautiful stories out of Nigeria,” she added.
“Who Makes The Best Jollof?”
Google’s blog post detailed the origin of where the “Jollof Wars” stems from, especially between Nigerians and Ghanaians. Most Nigerians tend to use long-grain or parboiled rice while Ghanaians opt for basmati. People’s preference for which type of rice they favor more also comes down to the amount of tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices that are used. Additionally, it’s greatly debated whether vegetables should be in jollof rice.
In Google’s eyes, the bigger picture is embracing all the different forms of the rice.
“Who ultimately makes the best jollof? No one can say for sure. The only way to find out is to try as many varieties as you can!”