It’s always a treat to see Google update their homepage that has served as the Internet’s premiere search engine for 24 years. From holidays to historical figures, the update is sure to educate audiences. But when the Google Doodle nods to Blackness, it is particularly special.
On Nov. 4, the Google Doodle is dedicated to jollof rice, one of the most iconic foods of West Africa.
Jollof is an alternate spelling of “Wolof”—named from its origins in the Wolof Empire—which encompassed parts of what is now known as Gambia, Mauritania, and Senegal.
The dish is a mixture of long-grained rice with simmered tomatoes, onions, peppers and regional spices. Often served with fish, as an evening meal, although it can also be enjoyed at other times of the day, but with fish substituted by chicken, beef or goat.
Each nation has its own variant of the one-pot dish. And each country swears their version is superior. Seriously, have you ever heard a Ghanaian describe Nigerian jollof? The rivalry between the two fuels the Jollof Wars.
Google might have picked a side when they tapped Haneefah Adam to create the stop-motion animation, which shows the simple preparation that goes into creating the dish. Adam, 31, is a Nigerian visual artist who is known for centering food in her art and designs.
The hijabi hailing from the UK gained prominence in 2015 when she modified the beloved icon, Barbie, into Hijarbie, a Barbie doll adorned in a hijab. Adam told OkayPlayer, “I wanted to provide a positive narrative for the Muslim girl and provide inspiration, as there is a lot of that in the Muslim world.”
In a statement to 9to5Google, Adam said, “This is a celebration of culture—not just my culture, but of everyone who recognizes food as a conduit. 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.”
Friday’s Google Doodle is sure to leave your mouth watering. Before you attempt to make it on your own, or even try the instant Trader Joe’s version, please seek the nearest West African restaurant and ask an auntie.