For the characters in the United States, food is a way to connect with the life they left behind in Nigeria. Characters like Akunna derive comfort from discovering their local African foods store, while others like Chinaza attempt to bring as much food as they can from home to the United States with them. When customs seizes some of Chinaza's food items for fear that she'd attempt to plant some of the (dried and dead) seeds, it shows how unyielding the United States can be to its immigrant population. Chinaza's husband, Ofodile, joins the cause of customs by insisting that Chinaza not cook traditional Nigerian dishes, so that they won’t be known as "the people who fill the building with smells of foreign food," indicating that though traditional food is undeniably comforting for people like Chinaza and Akunna, for others it's an unpleasant and unwelcome reminder of their ties to another country.
The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below all refer to the symbol of Nigerian Food. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of The Thing Around Your Neck published in 2009.).
The Shivering Quotes
The timeline below shows where the symbol Nigerian Food appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Thing Around Your Neck
The Arrangers of Marriage
Tomorrow is Too Far
...narrator suggested Nonso climb the avocado tree. Nonso was heavy from eating all of Grandmama's food. Grandmama constantly reminded the children that she made the food for Nonso, as if the... (full context)