Apotoyewaa and Tapoli

apotoyewaa and tapoli
apotoyewaa and tapoli

The apotoyewaa and tapoli, also known as the mortar and pestle, are a staple of my Ghanaian heritage. I can best describe the apotoyewaa as a wide black clay bowl with slight ridges that you can’t quite see but can definitely feel if you were to run your finger over it. The tapoli is essentially a wooden hourglass. In our home, the apotoyewaa sits on the furthermost burner on the left side of our stove. Its presence affirms that our culture lives on even though we are miles and miles away from our home. In 2007, my brother, mother, and I emigrated from Ghana and joined my father here in the United States. Leaving my homeland when I was just shy of two years old, I’ve always felt like I have one foot in two worlds. Growing up I struggled to find a balance between the American Edna and the Ghanaian Edna. As of late, I’ve really thought about how I will preserve my cultural identity as I establish a life here in America. Though food seems insignificant, the recipes my mother has shared with me tell the story of my family and are a reminder of where I come from. I don’t think I could ever use the apotoyewaa or tapoli and not remember Ghana, or the delicious meals that start in that clay bowl. The apotoyewaa and tapoli are so much more than cooking utensils, they are also my connection to Ghanaians all across the world. 

Place(s): Ghana
Year: 2007

– EB

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child