As an African girl, I was trained to cook by my mother at an early age. I started by identifying the basic ingredients necessary for every meal that was to be prepared. My mother would call the name of what she needed and I would find it and bring to her. Then, I was giving the task of tasting the food for salt and maggi. I started grinding pepper and other condiments on the grinding stone. Gradually, I started preparing simple meals like parboiling meat, boiling yam and then booyah, your girl was now cooking like a pro. It was so easy.
If you believed everything I wrote above then you should know this, I never enjoyed any part of the training on how to cook. In those moments, I would rather be somewhere playing or behaving mindlessly. Also, know that my mother had to flog me to get me to the kitchen. In fact, the turning-stick and my mother’s fists were my instructors. I hated grinding pepper on the stone. I mean, there was a functional blender in the kitchen yet I was forced to grind on a stone. I mean who does that? The part I hated the most was cooking with fire wood. The heat, the smoke, the ash…OMG.
Today, I know how to cook all my native/urban-naija cuisine and my hunger for culinary knowledge is unquenchable as is my quest to learn every cooking technique. If you are wondering why I haven’t enrolled in a culinary arts academy, just keep wondering (LOL). The truth is, I don’t see the need to enroll in a culinary arts academy when I have YouTube and Pinterest at my disposal 24/7. Moreover, I like to impress my family and friends only. And you know what, they are the real MVPs. My family members are my number one fans. They will eat any/every thing I recreate from a recipe that I found. My friend Dami aka Aunty Ijebu can hail me for Africa. Sometimes, I wonder if it is because she is too lazy to cook or she really likes my cooking. (don’t tell her I said so). Sometimes, when I cook these strange meals, I am too scared to taste them. LOL
Although, cooking isn’t for everyone but some try to learn by all means because no matter how and what they cook, it is always a failure. I was a guest in the home of a newly-wed couple one Christmas and the Amariya (New Bride) served me Peppered chicken, fried rice and salad. HMMM…Christmas day food is supposed to be special na. Chai, even salad too? What I ate that day made me wonder till today what her husband is suffering. I can’t describe what it looked and tasted like just for the sake of some women out there. But What-the-hell!
I would like to drop a few tips on the first things you need to understand before you decide to learn how to cook.
- choose recipes that are not too complicated. I advise this because you might get overwhelmed by a recipe that have unusual ingredients or difficult steps or that is time consuming.
- read the recipe through from beginning to end before you start. In fact read it 3 or 4 times to make surer that you understand all the directions.
- Check the clock and make sure you have enough time to make the recipe. if you have to get dinner on table at a certain time, figure out when you’ll need to start in order to have the meal ready.
- Assemble all your ingredients in one place before you start cooking. This should help to avoid running all over the kitchen.
- Always wear an apron if you want to keep your clothes from getting dirty. also, tie back your long hair to keep it away from fire.
- Lastly, always wash your hands before and after you cook. You may also need to wash your hand several times as you cook.
If after reading the tips above and you are still having a headache on how to conquer the kitchen, my advice to you is don’t bother trying to cook again. All you need to do is order food from jumia food or nkaataa bukka and enjoy yourself every time you are hungry. After all, you cannot come and go and kill yourself because you want to learn how to cook.