I grew up having no need to enhance my cooking skills. I had a mother who more or less was a housewife and made selfless efforts in making sure my two siblings and I had food to eat as at when hungry (rich families eat when due, we eat when hungry).
I proceeded to boarding school where it was the school’s responsibility to feed us so my cooking skills lay dormant.
Then after secondary school, I got admission into Nigeria’s foremost Private University popularly referred to as a glorified secondary school (I didn’t mention any name..lol). In my school, we weren’t allowed to cook (so we either bought food from the school cafeteria or cooked indomie/spaghetti with electric kettle in the hostels. My cooking skills still lay dormant.
I graduated and served my country in Bayelsa but in my corper’s lounge we had female Corpers who did the cooking while the boys contributed a larger bulk of the money for cooking. My cooking skills were still unattended to.
Then I left to the UK to further my education. That’s where everything changed….lol.
I got to the UK and my first few days were spent eating burger, chips, chicken and all those Oyimbo food.
Then it dawned on me that I could never maintain such eating habits with my little pocket money and the warehouse job I eventually got.
Why don’t I eat in the many Nigerian restaurants in Coventry City?
Due to the expensive nature of bringing down food/soup ingredients from Nigeria, even Nigerian good were pricier than Oyimbo food.
“Why not cook your meals?”, a friend asked.
“Cook what?” When indomie was the only meal on my “things-I-can-cook list.
To survive in the UK, I literally had to wake my dormant cooking skills up and learn how to cook. With the help of my beautiful Nigerian girlfriend back then, I learnt how to cook which has kept me in good stead even upon returning back to Nigeria and living a bachelor’s life.
In Chimamanda Adichie’s words “Cooking is a very useful skill for a boy to have. The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina. Cooking is learned. Cooking – domestic work in general – is a life skill that both men and women should ideally have”.
I blame my mother for not insisting that all her children (boys and girls) learnt how to cook. “What if, in raising children, we focus on ability, instead of gender? What if, in raising children, we focus on interest, instead of gender? I know a family who have a son and a daughter, both of whom are brilliant at school, who are wonderful, lovely children. When the boy is hungry, the parents say to the girl, “Go and cook [noodles] for your brother.” Now, the girl doesn’t particularly like to cook Indomie noodles, but she’s a girl, and so she has to. Now, what if the parents, from the beginning, taught both the boy and the girl to cook Indomie noodles?” – Chimamanda Adichie.
It’s time, boys and girls are taught how to cook equally.
It’s time, men and women learnt how to cook because “I’ve never thought it made sense to leave such a crucial thing, the ability to nourish one’s self, in the hands of others”. – Chimamanda Adichie.