I don’t want to brag—that’s a lie, yes I do—but my pantry is bursting with amazing flavors and ingredients from West Africa. Still, there’s a question of what might count as a pantry staple in today’s West Africa. And there is an increasing sense of ambivalence toward what I and many chefs in the diaspora consider the treasures of West African cooking. Calabash Nutmeg (African Nutmeg)Calabash is the superhero nutmeg, dressed like a Black Panther character with its veined red helmet. Mesewa (Grains of Paradise/Alligator Pepper/Melegueta Pepper)Native to West Africa, this spice is a member of the ginger family.