Why Nigerian Women hate cooking!

Hello Ndi Nkem! Hope you are doing alright. Honestly I can’t even say I am doing well. This year has been very trying for me. I have lost friends, opportunities, and many more. I have also gained loved ones and people that I can’t trade for the world. One thing I’ve been dealing with is a lot of uncertainty. I’m going to talk about this at a later time but it’s definitely been a problem. How about you? Feel free to share in the comments. I want to hear how you are doing.

Chickpea stirfry with Parantha

Well on to the topic of today. Cooking is one of those conversations that I don’t have with everyone. It exposes certain vulnerabilities about me, so talking about it with you means that I really trust you. I grew up in a very traditional Igbo household. My mom cooked all our meals, while my dad brought in the bacon. Cooking was a duty set aside for the girls. In fact, many times during my childhood, my brothers were chastised for being in the kitchen. “This is not a place for boys,” was commonly thrown at them. So much so that my brothers didn’t even do their own dishes growing up. They would leave it in the sink, if it even made it that far, and one of the girls would wash it.

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As the first daughter, I was expected to be an adult early on. That meant that a double responsibility of serving my younger ones while also leading them. I performed this role with precision, but the one place I failed continuously was cooking. I hated it. I guess all the pent up anger of society’s expectations of me as a woman and my parents’ first child, was directed at cooking. I made no effort to learn and constantly rebelled when asked to be involved in it. I remember the day my mother shouted at my sister and I for being in our rooms while she cooked. She forced us to come to the kitchen and watch her cook, even if we didn’t do anything. I cried the whole time. I kept thinking, ” Why do I have to suffer through this mess while my brothers can comfortably play their video games?” It made me angry.

Simple English breakfast

However, my anger with cooking wasn’t even about the cooking itself. It was around all the expectations it carried for me as a woman in the society. My lack of culinary skills growing up would often be accompanied with “Is this how you will disgrace us in your husband’s house? When he sends you back, you will know.” It infuriated me. Rather than ‘motivate’ me to want to learn, it actually drew me away from the kitchen. It fueled my rebellion and caused me to see cooking as an indentured servitude to men.

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Furthermore, my mother made the kitchen an unsafe space. No one was allowed to make mistakes, not even my 11-year old self. “That’s not how to cut okro! At your age, you can’t even fry plantain. Common eba you can’t make, what a shame!” These were the words I was met with when I did attempt to cook. It was no wonder that I ran as fast as my legs could carry me away from the kitchen.

Nutella covered puff-puff

Although my childhood set me up to hate cooking, something kept drawing me back to it. In senior secondary school, I took both Food and Nutrition (F&N) and Catering Craft Practice (CCP). I did so well in them that I won the Best in CCP when I graduated. However, it wasn’t until my third year of university that I started falling in love with cooking. For the first time, I was allowed to be a bad cook. I could cook nonsense and it was ok. Cooking was no longer a form of indentured servitude. The only person I had to please was myself. It became a creative outlet for me: coming up with new recipes was therapeautic.

Simple shrimp fried rice

Today, I am a food blogger on Instagram (@_cookingwithclara) and I share my recipes with people. If someone had told me that the kitchen would become one of my favorite places, I would never have believed it. I won’t lie, I still feel some type of way cooking for men. I can’t shake off that feeling of indentured servitude from my head. Also, my immediate younger brother actually enjoys cooking. He still has some ways to go, but he is on the right track. Cooking is a basic survival skill that I believe everyone should have to an extent. However, the way we hold it as a ransom over women will never be ok. So what about you? Do you hate to cook? What is your relationship to it? I hope your bp has dropped from when you read the title? Let me know in the comments. Hope you enjoyed this read? Till next time, Bye!

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Heeldaah says:

    This is so relatable. I actually fell in love with cooking when I stayed alone too, I could be bad and still want to do it over and over again to get it right all on my own.
    This is such a beautiful piece.
    Go, Adaora👍👏


    1. adabekeeblog says:

      Thank you love. Honestly being able to fail actually makes cooking much better


      1. Delma says:

        I can totally relate. I’m the first child/daughter and although I didn’t grow up with a brother(my younger brother came when I was 15), I’d hear all these comments. I hated cooking ehn. I took agric in junior and senior school instead of home economics/food and nuts just to avoid it. I didn’t start cooking until a few months before I was leaving Nigeria for college. I realized that I had spent time hating a skill that I would need a lot in college. I started cooking more my sophomore year when I got an apartment and now I do it a lot and I love it. I cook for my Nigerian friends a lot, especially during thanksgiving. I think my favorite thing is experimenting with sweet and savory spices. Sadly I do not get to do it as much as I’d love to because of school stress and all.
        Btw I just found out about your blog and youtube channel. I wish I knew about it when I first moved here tbh. I think I’d have felt less alone if I read relatable content like yours. Lol I even created my own blog to rant about being in college as an international student. Anyways I can’t wait to read more of your blog posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. adabekeeblog says:

        Thank you so much. I’m glad we’ve found each other 🤗🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cassandra Ezike says:

    The way this post is screaming my name. Lmao I still hate cooking but we move. Well done!!!


  3. Omaye says:

    Hey Ada,

    Really nice piece. I can totally relate as I had a similar experience growing up. I like spending time with my parents but don’t really look forward to sleepovers because silently, the old rules still apply so I end up spending about 80% of my visiting time in the kitchen. This has affected the way I react to expectations anyone might have of me cooking for them. Lol. I still have a love-hate relationship with cooking even now that I live alone but the upside is that I think I’m quite good at it. I’d still rather have a cook though 😁


    1. adabekeeblog says:

      Thank you for responding. The whole thing is so complex. Cooking should be more fun but the way it’s been presented to us makes it horrific. Las las we gas chop so…


  4. Amy Helina says:

    Hi! This is so interesting! I know cooking responsibilities are different in so many places. I’m happy that you found your joy in it though! I can see how it would leave a bad taste in your mouth for having to “serve the men”, and I completely agree that cooking (and the chores that go along with it) are more of life skills, than gender roles.

    Your dishes look delicious! I am going to have to follow you on Insta so I can get some of these wonderful recipes. In my family we are such foodies, and love cooking and trying new things!


    1. adabekeeblog says:

      Hello! Thank you so much. My cooking journey has been convulted, but I love where it has taken me. Please do follow on Instagram. I have loads of recipes you can try. 🤗☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. E.S.A says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. It was so relatable because it happens in so many Nigerian homes. My little brother (6) already refuses to stay in the kitchen because he is a man (he has never seen daddy in the kitchen). It all starts from small. Hopefully things can change.


    1. adabekeeblog says:

      I hear you. You need to keep changing those notions if not, he will be a nuisance. I’m glad you enjoyed it


  6. Olive c Ezike says:

    I really hated cooking growing up but i loved food and for me it was also confusing seeing how cooking was made to be a gender thing and not a life skill. My mom didn’t even rate me in the kitchen thats why when i had to choose a trade i was told to do data processing so i don’t disgrace her and myself. I had no interest at all but it was until i moved to university and i fell in love with it. Cooking stopped being boring to me because like you said i was allowed to make mistakes and try again and since then i never looked back. This was such an interesting read too, you’re doing amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eno says:

    I felt the same growing up; i hated *everything* I was supposed to do *because I am a girl*— ranging from wearing earrings, dresses, lipstick/ gloss (when permitted) to cleaning and cooking. I hated everything that was tied to being a woman. 🙄🙄🙄 I think I got more active in cooking when I moved back from school, and now I cook less? Lol. Any who I can actually enjoy cooking now, but it’s still labor so it’s always 50/50 if I’m up to it 😂


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