If you ask Amanda Adé which jollof rice she prefers – Ghanian or Nigerian – she makes no bones about her bias. "I'm going to be biased because I do have Nigerian blood but from my experience I would also say Nigerian jollof rice is so much better", she laughs.

The traditional dish, where rice is cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and often served with chicken or another kind of meat, is what Amanda calls the "pinnacle of West African cooking", and the subject of a long rivalry.

If you've spent any amount of time on TikTok, you're sure to have come across some videos of white people cooking the dish and being playfully critiqued by African or Black TikTok users.

"Honestly, there really, really isn't much difference between the two. It's just a thing of pride at this stage. I'd say that the main difference is they add vegetables in with Ghanian jollof, so they'd add peas. I don't understand that."

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As one of the co-hosts of the Black and Irish podcast, food is one of the many areas of Black and Irish identity that Amanda delves into, shedding light on what it's like to grow up in Ireland as a Black or mixed race person.

Co-hosted by Boni Odoemene, Leon Diop and Femi Bankole, the podcast has gone from strength to strength, exploring the unique values, cultural references, traditions and experiences of Black and Irish people. Now in its second season, the podcast delves deeper, bringing you into their homes, as Amanda puts it.

"In African culture, there is a huge emphasis on food. I mean, it's a massive, massive, massive part of life and a cultural identity", she tells me over the phone. "And that's a thing as well for some parents, they feel a strong obligation to be able to pass it onto their kids."

Food carries history, she adds, saying: "You need to know about your food because certain foods relate to certain people as well. It also ties into different tribes and different ethnic identity."

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Preparing food is also a laborious task, with many of the most popular and significant native African dishes taking hours to prepare. To cook for someone, then, is a massive undertaking and a huge show of care and affection. "It wouldn't be a quick, 10, 20 minutes dinner!" Amanda laughs.

"If you're making African dishes like this, there's a lot of ingredients and it takes a lot of time. You need to get up early in the morning if you know you're cooking certain dishes that take three, four hours."

Food is also one of the many ways African cultures and households open the doors for newcomers, as those TikTok videos prove: at the end of the day, they're just delighted to see people trying to embrace their culture.

"Particularly with West Africa, there's almost like an embrace when people try to also get involved with the culture", Amanda says. "That's a huge thing of pride for them. It's very, very, very much a welcome and open culture and community over there.

"As long as it's being approached with, like, just genuine curiosity and also like a respect for it, it'll never be met with negativity."

For Amanda too, it's a bridge between the branches of her family tree, as she's half Nigerian and half South African. So while on one hand she was debating the merits of Nigerian jollof rice over Ghanian, she was also learning to make pap, boerewors and South African braai.

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African food is one of the easier ways those outside the communities can try to connect with it, it's on TikTok, Instagram, in the recipe section of various magazines, but understanding African homes and families takes a little more insider knowledge. This is where season two of the Black and Irish podcast truly shines, as it sits the listener down in the middle of a vibrant conversation about African home and identity.

Amanda says her parents were more on the "liberal" end of the spectrum compared to some African parents, but still there were some growing pains when raising children who were both Black and Irish.

"For a lot of African parents, they really struggle because the way they grew up was completely different than the way that we grew up. So and there was a lot of miscommunication as well", she says. "They didn't understand us or we didn't understand them."

"They are African and they believe that because they're African, their kids are African. But understanding that their kids don't really have the same identity as them. There's a whole other aspect to their kids identity that they also need to try and navigate.

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"As much as they want to pass on their African cultures and values and stuff like that they also needed to be respectful of the fact that we are also quite Irish and I'm not and not be overbearing and and not neglect that side of our identity as well and encourage us to embrace both."

For Amanda, this podcast fills a gap that it seems she recognised growing up. Speaking about her hopes for the podcast, she says: "The main thing I realised growing up was that, first of all, I did not even understand my culture."

"I didn't understand my identity, when I got to the age where I was kind of coming to terms with that and understanding it myself, I realised then that other people didn't understand the black community. And there's a lot of negative perceptions just because people don't know."

"So the main thing for me was trying to educate people and helping people to understand a bit more about us and just to kind of kill that the ignorance, painting a more clear picture of who we are and why we are the way that we are."

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