I was ill for a day or two
I was ill for a day or two
One of the fondest memories I have of my mom is her in the kitchen cooking. She always wanted me to be a part of it and asked that I stay in the kitchen to watch while she cooked. I hated it!
I was going to grow up and become a lawyer, never marry, and just try and win cases, why did I need to learn about cooking?
She made good foods and one of her many specialties was Obe ilá Alasepo (Okra stew), it is native to her state of origin, Ondo in Nigeria.
When she made this stew, she would put all sorts in it and say “òkèlè kan, ọmọ ìgbín kan, aye n be l’Ondo egin” loosely translated “every dip of your morsel into the stew you pick a bit of baby snails” We loved eating the stew…ask anyone who knows, it is a delight…and even when things got rough and they did from ‘94-01 and especially between ‘99-01, she still made them although adding meats became expensive. She still cooked them with ponmo (cow skin) just because she knew we loved eating it. We had a funny name for the stew then and it made her laugh out loud. Still all I wanted to do was eat it and not make it…
Back pedal further to 2001 a few days after she passed away, I had to follow one of my aunts to the market to get food items, sigh… I hated it!
We got home and I went into the kitchen to drop off the items and for whatever reason, I cooked Yam and fried eggs with chunks of Titus fish…I made that meal almost every night for that period, and after the funeral and visits were all concluded, I found myself in the kitchen making turkey stew for one of my brothers to take back to university.
Turkey stew became my specialty, and every chance I got I would cook it…I also started making coleslaw and remember making it with my sister for a friend’s 21st birthday.
I moved to the US and found myself cooking ever so often. Dodo& gizzard was now my specialty and every chance I got I would bring a tray to parties for free, then it was fried rice, now it’s all sorts…I always looked for opportunities to bring food to parties…I found that I thoroughly enjoyed cooking.
These days, I wish I had stayed in the kitchen with her…I wish I had learned to cook from her…still I try to look back on our time together and picture a few things she did here and there…my dad and siblings give input as they are able.
Today I am cooking Obe ilá alasepo, as a tribute to her as I make up my mind to pursue this joyful passion fearlessly. I will put every kind of meat I have in the stew…and I have a lot, thank God. I will sit back and dip my morsel into it…smile in memory of mommy and wish if only for one second she was here to share this meal with me.
(To say I didn’t cry while writing this would be a lie, but that’s OK for I find my honest moments in words are when the tears flow free).
It is the simplicity therein
A mountain they seemed
Piled way up to the top
Different types of meat
Vegetables and fish
5 hours after noon they all were done
Me in the midst of my favorite room
Surrounded by utensils and sweet smells
Burning flames bright and blue
Under stainless steels and Dutch pots
Chicken wings clothed with spinach Floating free in juicy ripe red bell peppers
4 stews, brown rice, and fish steeped in soup later
A week in meals was done
I will like to go to a café with you
On a mid-Wednesday morning like this
Sip on hot cocoa creamy smooth and brown as you
Nibble sweetly at bits of marble coffee cakes
Strawberry glaze staining my happy lips pink
*I was in the city on Sunday, and saw the name of a cute cafe, Bale Cafe, and this poem was born :)*
Buttered toast and honey oats
Fingers crossed with cuddled toes
Warming fires snuggling close
Lovely night with unburdened clothes
Your eyes partly blue and darkly brown softly pull me in Sweet & seductive I like you, so allow me to be honest Truth is I like you a lot The taste of you could be like warm sugar Slightly slapping and burning the back of my throat The part that your moist tongue could so easily tickle Like pink cotton candy on a summer noon Delighting my swollen navel through to my tummy But I must refrain Knowing your side effects is lasting Tempting and downright sinful (So) I keep watching from a far (unsafe) distance…