Tonight, I had Hobnobs and milk for dinner. It was heavenly.
Someone somewhere is judging me:
Grown African girl like you, whose mates are in their husbands’ houses. Shior! And you can open your mouth and say it. Have tomatoes finished in the market? Is there no more periwinkle and crayfish at Rumurolu?
Well, I have stew. I made stew. But meat af finish, and I am craving… Wait a minute. Do I have to explain myself to anyone? Really?
I understand there have been cooking arguments around lately. I’m not here to say what side wins the argument or not, or who carry point pass; I couldn’t care less. I think it is great that people learn to cook. Every adult should know how to cook since they know how to eat.
I don’t always like to cook, and I should not be made to feel guilty as cooking is a hobby, not a body part everybody grows (by the way, not everyone has every body part, and they should not even be made to feel bad about that). But I cook. I do not have a choice. Because I eat, and I have people around me who eat and, from time to time, need me to help process raw food into edible catering..erm…edible food.
Unfortunately, this is not enough for Nigerian humans. They want to hear that you love cooking, that you cannot live with yourself unless it was you who cooked the meal you ate. What is eatery? What is cornflakes? My friend get cooking and save money. (Paznali, I enjoy eating out sef)
I remember my experiences from 100level university days. I would pay a token to wash-women to wash my clothes because I felt I could use the time for something more productive (and they could use the money, afterall, that was what they did for a living), and then I would watch the eyes of some of my room mates judge me. Some would throw in a little head-shaking just to rub the judgement in. I remember too, that then, I mostly only made tomato-paste stews with sardine. I enjoyed my delicacy with rice and beans or spaghetti, and would do it over and over basically because I loved it. People would look at me like I was insane because, unlike them, I wasn’t making amala. It made no sense. I mean, I don’t even like amala, or eba or semo or whatnot, and I was not big on egusi or efo at the time, even though I could make these meals well. Why are these people having headaches over my matter?
Then I realized that as a woman, you had to prove that you were a woman, as if your defined tits and coke-figure body were not proof enough already. You had to do everything yourself, even when you could afford to have people do it for you. You had to combine everything you were involved in with washing and cooking and cleaning, not because it was absolutely necessary, but because you had to prove a point to people who didn’t give two fudges. It was at this point I realized that I was not the conventional female, and I never wanted to be.
And this, here, is the creed of the unconventional female, among many other things: I will cook because I want to eat, and because it makes me and the people I care about and feel like feeding, happy. I will wash if I have to, if I don’t get my machine to wash for me. I will clean because it is the right thing to do. I will do all of these, and none of them would be because I am trying to prove a point or defend my ‘wife material’. I would rather be busy pursuing my dreams and fulfilling my life’s purpose than trying to convince anyone in the world that I am a woman. Oh, and I will gladly stock my home with Hobnobs and milk if that’s what makes me happy. Life is too short for pretenses that still end up in a toilet bowl.