Creative Writing

@njielamin

Some learn by observing, while others learn by doing. As a child, I have seen my mom and sisters bustle to prepare meals. If you have never cooked before, then you wouldn’t understand the intricacies involved in preparing a delicious dish. All through my life, since I was 12 I have seen how my mother and sisters cook. This exercise is a profound benevolence and a true act of humanitarianism. My mom used to woke up early in the morning, “I mean as early as am” to set the pace for how the family – father, siblings and myself pasture that day. Obviously, similar task is performed in many other families by women; they cook, wash and upkeep the house. They cook breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I see cooking quiet honorable; given the efforts invested in preparing a meal, particularly Gambian cuisine, it is a daunting multitask. “Women go to the market to shop daily; buy ingredients for the dish to be cooked ” but that’s the prelude. At the kitchen, they pound some of these ingredients with a small pestle, these usually include, black pepper, and other relevant ones as per requisite of the dish being cooked. “I’m not saying this with a guess, such women who enter the kitchen to feed an entire family, a nation deserves all the courtesies of the world”. As she begins, soak the fish or meat into water, and slice into smaller particles while the stove on the firewood or charcoal pot is catching heat awaiting frying . For instance, in cooking ” you cook the sauce first then steam the jollof rice”. For domoda or other vegetable soup such as super kanja or plazaz; you’d need specific different ingredients for that too. “I’m preserving that for my cooking lesson”.

Cooking is an inherent skill most women possessed, although there’re few exceptions to this, “I can remember visiting a childhood friend who’s wife cannot cook” this was thus, a unique experience for me, which later became a proven fact to a cliche that ‘there are women who cannot cook, as exasperate as I may sound, “life is a series of untold stories”.

Women endure heat that generates from the local cooking stoves on firewood, and inhale the smokes, so cancerous. Though, not common now, it was prevalent during the post-independence Gambia, yet in some rural settings. Such hazards are extremely toxic and rather unhealthy – they cause cancer. “Yes I just know this, in case you may wonder”. However, and despite what women have to suffer in the kitchen, they deliver palatable dish. “When all is done and mom serves, we stuffed ourselves, as sometimes you just overate yourself out excessively intractable.

Cooking is an inherent skill most women possessed, although there’re few exceptions to this, “I can remember visiting a childhood friend who’s wife cannot cook” this was thus, a unique experience for me, which later became a proven fact to a cliche that ‘there’re women who cannot cook, as absurd as I may sound, “life is a series of untold stories” but this is one among the lot. Beauty they said is in the eye of the beholder, be that as it may, to find beauty in ordinary things is not a specialty, just as the artist find beauty in creativity, “I find beauty in cooking”, even though I cannot cook; I have been considering going in for some cooking lessons from my grandma, her culinary skills are just splendid (old roads lead to home and happiest circumstances are closest to home).

Men like women should all learn to cook for the ease of access to healthy cooked meals and discourage consumerism of can-foods. Unequivocally, patriarchy has made some of our men lazy; only few are defying these odds, becoming cookers and not only consumers. As George Orwell said it in his book ‘The Animal Farm’ “man is the only creature that consumes and do not produce”.

Cooking is rewarding and fascinating an exercise. There’s beauty in cooking which is not only the end product, a dish; but the sense of selflessness and stanch diligence deploy in the kitchen, under a serious and unhealthy condition sometimes, “ this isn’t fancy or exuberant”, it is enduring. Cooking is not only a matrimonial duty, moral or social obligation. It is an art of hospitality blessed by heaven; for who feeds a man, feed all of humanity and God bless the hands that toil to prepare meals.

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When women cook, introspect they find extreme pleasure knowing their cook is well ate, at best all eaten. That’s a notch for women in traditional Gambian society. Though, every genuine personality acknowledges compliments in high esteems, but this is such that, women can be mildly huffy when they’re criticize on their cook. And to be quiet candid, I have meet and eat from the cooked meals by some women– especially the local dishes; domodaa, supa kanja and benachin, but they’re a quintessential of mom’s cuisines, nourishing and delicious. “One of my former classmates is a chef; I would definitely explore the opportunities of becoming a cook,” I bet you can’t afford to miss my first meal. Until then, look for appetizers.

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