I came across these as a child when we would go to my village in Delta State, Nigeria and my grandfather had to 'present Kola' to his guests, even if it was his cousin from down the street. Most especially, if there were serious issues to deliberate, there would be no discussion without it. It is taboo to have any major event without it.
The 'Kola' needs, a bottle of something, preferably gin, some money notes, and 'alligator pepper' grains. After the guest accepts the kola and prays for the well being of everyone present etc, conversations begin in earnest. It can go on for ages, as each tries to make his point. As for me, having no say but keeping my dad company, I would chew on the alligator pepper seeds. Kola nut tasted bitter and I didn't care much for it. The peppery taste, to me, is comparable to horseradish. It goes right to the brain. 😤
The aromatic flavouring of these seeds give our famed West African 'pepper soups' their unique taste and effect. This creates a very spicy broth and is especially good in helping to clear the sinuses.
(Picture yourself with a runny nose as you eat because along with chilies in the soup, the heat is turned up to the max)
Pepper soup in southern Nigeria is a delicacy often given to mothers of newly born babies and in some traditions, a new born baby has a dab of the ground seeds on its tongue supposedly to make them tough. Alligator pepper, definitely a prized possession in a West African's kitchen cupboard.
These lot were bought at Ades Cash and Carry store and may be found in your local Afro Caribbean grocery store. Why not take 'The Spicy Challenge' and add some ground Alligator Pepper seeds to your regular broth and let us know how it goes 😄.