"I ain't sayin' he's a soup-pot digga but he ain't messing with no pot burner." - K'Adaure West
I am sure some of you may have caught wind of the discussion going on on Nneka's Blog about cooking and hooking a man through his stomach . It's quite interesting and ya'll should check out some of the comments. Since I wrote an extemporaneous entry late last month about how much I hate cooking, not just because I don't know how to cook, but because I am a hazard in the kitchen, I have decided to take another stab at it with the wisdom I have culled from all and sundry. Here goes my conversation with my conscience, aka Nda, who speaks and thinks with an Igbo accent.... [Men this article about this old people's home will never get written o]
Ada: Woe is me!! I am doomed to perpetual spinsterhood and condemned to a life of eternal damnation as an old maiden. Chai!! [crying and biting my finger]
Nda: Bia who is that? Why the noise? Pesin die?
Ada: No o. Not yet at least.
Nda: Ehen? So why are you crying like somebody has kill ya fowl.
Ada: Just lamenting on the fact that my brideprice is not worth a common pot of soup.
Nda: Daz it? That's why you have now become the chief town-crier. Why not call all the animals and the spirits from the forest to come and follow you to cry. Ehn?
Ada: But it's true now. Have you not tasted my food. Even common egg...akwa... I cannot boil.
Nda: Hmh? Ada you are right. Sand is better than your cooking. I remember that beans that you cooked one time that all the beans disappeared. And the so-called shrimp and grits you made and put one of those spirits you call teddy-bear and called it gourmet. You didn't even use shrimp sef.
Ada: It was gourmet. That's what I ate at the Vogue party with Andre Leon Talley and I googled the recipe and decided to make it. Plus I couldn't use shrimp because I'm allergic.
Nda: Ehen....You are allergic to shrimp but you can eat Crayfish? But bia k'am ju kene...Let me ask.... When all ya mates were cooking 'nri-aja' [sand/play food] with 'kom-kom' [tin cans] what were you doing.
Ada: I followed them to cook now but only when we travel to the village. I was always getting in trouble for wasting palm oil and kerosene i'ld steal from the kitchen. I used hibiscus leaves and red sand to make draw-draw soup[ogbono] and if I managed to catch a small lizard or pigeon, would roast it and use it for meat.
Nda: No wonder.. You probably still cook like that. What about in school.. You people didn't have catering practical.
Ada: We did but my group always ended up making meat pie, moi-moi, egg sandwich, chin-chin and jam. I don't know why. But the good thing is that I am an expert chin-chin and moi-moi maker. If I was still in Nigeria i'ld probably be making my jam from the scratch.
Nda: Chin-chin, Jam and sandwich? Even the queen of England can't survive on that. God thing you know how to make moi-moi. Takes a lot of skills for that...washing the beans..grinding the beans..stirring it to the right consistency.. seasoning...wrapping it in leaves, foil or water-proof...strategically laying it into the pot of boiling water without bursting it and then staying awake to let it steam. I hail you for that.
Ada: Thank you but I just don't have the patience for that. Even if I did, is it moi-moi everyday... Ah ah.. That can cause 'otoro-shut-up' [ diarrhea]
Nda: Otoro is better than kwashiorkor. What about your mother didn't she teach you how to cook?
Ada: She did oh, but I didn't learn. I was playing basket ball o, riding bicycle, playing ten-ten with my friends or building sand castle.
Nda: That's good for you. Nto ehn!! You are seeing it.. go and eat basket ball now. You were following boys..not so.
Ada: That's not true o. I didn't like boys when I was younger.
Nda: Oh Ho.. you didn't like boys.... you should be happy now that you have chased them off with your bad cooking.
Ada: How can I be happy? That means that I would become an old maiden for the rest of my life. Even if by mistake I hooked a man don't you think he will be suspicious if everyday I present him with Chinese or we are eating popcorn.
Nda: Not if he is chinese or likes to watch movie. That'll be normal for them. I think you should be worried that the will mistake your cooking for medicine/poison especially if the man is a Nigerian.
Ada: So what do I do. How do I solve this problem. I can manage by myself borrowing soup from my aunties and serving it to prospectus, but on the D-day of Igbankwu [wine-carrying] am I not supposed to serve my in-laws the soup I cooked. How can I escape that.
Nda: That's very simple, since they'll be going to your village for that, tell them there's was no cooking gas or kerosene in Orie-Mkpu market and since you are baby-America they cannot expect you to be blowing breeze on the firewood. Your hair can catch fire.
Ada: You are right.
Nda: Meanwhile, tell your father to prolong the ceremony, that should give you a chance to learn how to cook from the old women in your village. Since you already know how to kill lizard and fowl, that means killing a goat won't be a problem for you. The real challenge will be learning to cook with Ero [mushroom] and fooling the eater into thinking it is chicken.
Ada: Ehen...is that so?
Nda: Yes oh.... I am telling you. In fact considering that you barely have electricity in your village, that makes it even better. Cooking well in the dark or with lantern. It's because you are in America.. don't worry.. i give you two weeks in the village with one mama and you will cook better than the Maggi Kitchen Woman or even Martha Stewart.
Ada: You have a point. Does that then mean that I can use it to find a man.
Nda: You have to be careful who you tell you can cook. That will be an invitation for all kinds of men, including 'coke-roaches'. You can't allow everybody to taste your good cooking. It is like asking a goat to look after a tuber of yam and then asking questions when the yam disappears.
Ada: Ehen? Is that why before when I used to cook, all sorts of people used to ask to come over and eat and now I don't cook they have all disappeared.
Nda: That may be the case. But now that you have learnt the secrets go and use them and stop making all this noise you are making.
Ada: I will go and learn o.. I will even buy cook book.
Nda. E E mba.. not cookbook food, unless you want to marry onye-ocha [ white man]. Which Nigerian man will eat cook book food.
Ada: Sorry.. Ma bad. Thanks for the advice, I'll be on my way.
Nda: KAI!!! C'mon come back hia. Go and buy me McDonald's.. All this advice and common kola you cannot present. What kinda of wife are you going to be. E di [u are] useless, good for nothing but a flogging. Are you sure you are not supposed to be sister [nun]. By the way make sure you Super Size it.