I remember going to the village for Christmas and my aunt; my dad’s sister would always make some mushroom soup for us. One time she made it and it was filled with sand and I don’t think any of us cared. It was a mixture of wild mush rooms, achi and azu okpo(dried fish). I used to like Achi, but these days I rather go with Ofor. Achi and Ofor are simply thickeners used by the Igbos for local soups.
During the holidays in the village, we hardly ate jollof rice. In fact the jollof rice was a light skinned concoction that was so sticky with no maggi. Omase o. Anyway, we always ate rice and stew and on very special occasions my mother would make a whole bag of fried rice because our cousins and pretty much the entire clan were always in our house. I remember my Dad’s Aunty Da’da Priscilla also known as Da’da Prisci. She sold Akara at Ukwu Ukwa(at the root of the bread fruit tree). She always brought some for me. Maybe I was her favorite Grand niece hehehehe(jk). I remember going to her house and watching her cook and my favorite times with her was whenever she gave me a bowl of Oha soup and a plate of Akpu (fermented cassava swallow). The Akpu was always so soft and it would slide down my throat with such ease. I miss her ukpaka and Ji’akwu(African salad)
My favorite times growing up was eating from a tray with my cousins. I also loved Wednesdays because it was jollof rice day. One time I made Nigerian jollof “supergetti”(spaghetti) and I added some syrup type of thing. I thought it was some kind of oyinbo seasoning o. I found out later that it was pancake syrup *coversface….I used pancake syrup to make pasta. New recipe for y’all *laughs
I also loved eating with my father. I used to sit by his feet and at the end of his meal, he would share his meat with me; as baby concerned na hehehe :). At some point, I was in charge of making my dad’s meals. He ate a lot of “oiless” okra and dry fish. I miss that part with everything in me. May God rest his soul.
I have so many kitchen stories. Oh my dislike(for lack of a better word) for Ogi i.e pap (fermented corn meal) and my love for cerelac as a child. We couldn’t even eat our meat until after we finished our meals. My parents owned three farms and I didn’t like the cassava and yam farm because of the mosquitoes. But daddy used to only have me pack up the cleared grass and eat the roasted yam and spicy oil we took with us. I loved the corn farm because playing in it was like running through a maze. We made our own garri and Akpu for years. We also fermented our own corn for ogi. See, I’m not all the way an ajebutter :). We lived in the NNPC estate and our smallest farm was behind our house. We grew, pepper, we had small yam ridges, oha trees, okra, pumpkins, almond fruit trees, pineapples etc. I didn’t like that we had to eat beans that took hours that felt like days to cook. I didn’t like cooking Palm oil cream soup i.e. Banga; because it meant that I had to wash oily dishes(sigh! I hated doing dishes). Or was it Sunday rice and stew that took forever to cook? Olorun!
I spoke to some friends and acquaintances to share their kitchen stories and some of them had this to say;
“Now that you made me think, not sure this is part of what you want, but I remember we (siblings) never liked eating together but will jump for joy if asked to eat with our mum. Now that I think about it, I don’t know why…LOL we eat from separate plates” ….Elsie
“I remember my mom cooking bitter leaf from 4pm-9pm and at the end of it…..it feels like you’re drinking alomo bitter(lol).I love you mum!”….Phina
“I remember first learning to bake pound cakes. Cooking came quite later. But cooking Czech food takes about as long as cooking Naija food so it was just too boring. I learnt to cook quick stir fries and other modern meals my mom would not cook. Then I discovered seafood and it was love at first sight for me and my dad. But one dish I remember since I was a kid… My mom made borsch and I refused to eat it”….Blanka
“The one memory that stood out in my head over the weekend was the meat. That was like your prize for finishing your main food. I try it with my son now but he’s so fast he’ll finish it then tell me he’s full. Meanwhile rest of the food is barely touched.
I also remember being happy that as eldest I got to pick my food first so that definitely meant no chicken feet or head for me . Then sometimes they will shake things up, make me pick last or put more dodo on the plate with the dreaded chicken feet “….Precious
“I remember villa. We would request our rice and stew to be served on a tray so all the cousins will just dive in and eat from the large tray. So much fun.
Then, we all loved roasted yam. Grandpa would use a long basket and load up these yams for us to roast and eat and we would all gather in grandma’s kitchen to prepare the yams and the Palm oil sauce that goes with it with plenty of pepper and orisirisi. Na there we go chop the yam, drink cold water and sleep. Such fun memories of villa and food.”….Nene
“Lol those good old days, i like eating eba with my kid sis because she does not like eba at allll…. so i eat to my satisfaction promising her heaven on earth.”….Chimex
“We always ate from the same bowl, and the beef in the soup was cut in sizes. Offcourse the eldest took the biggest. I started cooking quite early becos I loved the paparazzi.the first meal I cooked was palmoil rice with fresh pepper n sprickled nchanwu leaves on it.
it tasted very nice.”….Alice
“I remember Saturday akara for breakfast . The initial intention would be Mom will fry akara and we would eat it with ogi. But the whole akara ended being eaten while she was still frying. We pretend to taste over and over again so by the she finished frying we don ‘belleful’. She will insist those not full should soak garri and drink or sugarless ogi. I hated that ogi. Love you mom.”….Elizabeth
“I remember waking up on Saturdays to wash beans for moi moi. Then before that food go ready eehn chai hunger go dun do person shege”….Nneka
“We had corn pap; sugarless with akara fried bean cakes for breakfast every day except Sundays. We made both corn meal and beans pulp ourselves. Never bought akara except on very rare occasions. We ground the beans on grinding stone, my younger sister was in charge every morning at those later days just before we left home.
Lunch was beans porridge, amala or eba. And dinner was yam with garden egg sauce.
Rice and pounded yam were Sunday exclusives.
The boys pound yams on Sunday.
Sometimes we made our garri ourselves and lafun, another cassava flour.
We never ate together. Except for pranks and it would be eba.
And sometimes there were these hard beans, one quite big sized and the other quite tiny… Both take hours to cook. In fact the big one would need to be soaked after cooking for a day or so…
Only few of us didn’t have issues selecting food… But mama didn’t take that from anybody. What she cooks is what you eat, but you are free to go hungry and leave her food, but she’s watching you and waiting for the day she’ll handle you… I never had a problem with her on that… Food matter was fun… With five boys and two girls, cooking wasn’t gender sensitive, you just had to take your place in the kitchen… Good to remember these things really…didn’t know they still exist somewhere on my mind”….Adetokunbo
“My mum had two kitchens, one for firewood and the other for stove. I hated the firewood kitchen. Woe betide me if i cooked in it when the wood isn’t dry. I always said I’m sick and she would shout… shebi this is how you will form sick when you’re asked to cook in your husband’s house? We ate from different plates except on Saturdays and Sundays. On those two days she put the food in a large tray and put the meat in one corner of the tray. You dare not touch it unless you’ve finished eating. We fried our own garri, processed our fufu and ogi. My mum would say she didn’t trust the one they sold in the market. I still wonder why it took her more than 3hours to prepare dinner then; when i spend less than an hour preparing same now. It was fun, but stressful. Life is much easier now. Aha…. who remembers picking stones from rice? That one is story for another day”….Ifeoma
“We would cook anything, serve it in a tray and eat together especially the boys . I get misty eyed jst thinking about it. I’m trying to see if we can get my kids to do that too”….Olatunji
Please do leave a comment and share your kitchen stories, we would love to hear from our readers 🙂
All images were gotten from google