So last week I was in Ìjẹ̀bú with wọlé and big mummy on some outta town trips. Glazing through the potholes of road and the numerous police checkpoints, we landed in the ancient city of Ìjẹ̀bú-Igbo. The ogún state government is erecting an overhead bridge that’s looked absolutely unnecessary and a classical case of white elephant project. That is another day’s story.
Few drive from the bridge we arrived at our location. An innocuous part of the town, kids and teenagers brandishing their white teeth at us. Then the first image caught my attention.
Oh! You’re confused too? To be honest, I initially thought it’s a stack of wood. Then I said no, this should be some towels. Or am I having my brightness disorder all over again? I finally reassured myself that it must be Guinea brocade fabric of same colour.
Well, wọlé brought me back to sensibility. All I saw was the outer layer of a cow. The hide that the butchers in the north decided not too incinerate with the cow. What I saw was the same they sell up the continent to the babariga adorning Moroccan leather designers.
Quick questions revealed that a trailer full arrive this location with the hides and the process of making the world famous Ponmo begins. Using a combination of salt, natural sun and incinerators. The salt act as a natural preservative as it renders the hides almost odorless and keep the flies away.
After several hours in the incinerator and consistent sun drying, your really, sumptuous and tasty ponmo is ready.
Do ensure you soak the ponmo overnight before consumption. That softens it and remove the excess salt that was used to preserve the hides.
When next you enjoy that original ponmo, be rest assured it was likely “manufactured” from Ìjẹ̀bú-Igbo. A soothing southern-Northern bilateral trade.
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