Good day to you!
Ever had a crazy day?
Permit me to skip the small talk as I fill you in on a little something that happened to me last Friday.
See I’m a bachelor, I freely admit and one of the perks of that status is that I get to eat out – a lot – but every now and then, I decide to give myself a treat.
Please stay with me now.
On that day, I was coming from an appointment and I was hungry so I decided I needed to make dinner for myself as opposed to eating out. This silly recession was threatening to drive me to the edge so it was going to be more home-made meals and less contribution to the ‘buka’ union.
I had this tuber of yam I’d been helping myself to so I decided on finish what was left of it by treating myself to pottage for dinner. To add some flavor to the pottage, I bought some crayfish and some ‘Ugwu’ (pumpkin leaves). I really meant business.
I intended to make something like this:
Now I must state here that I am no ‘Iron Chef’ but when it came to the basics of cooking, I could hold my own.
I got home put some water on fire for the yams and added the tomato sauce.
For those that are beginning to wonder what kind of crap I was pulling, let me state here that my method works for me and those that eat my meals give me ‘thumbs up’.
To be honest though, I really don’t know what I was thinking.
With my tomato sauce boiling, I proceeded to go peel the yam but alas! the yam was all rotten already!
Cue 1st Panic attack!
The tomato paste was already boiling and I was already regretting putting too much water so I decided I’ll just have to make rice-concoction which would mean I’d have to just pour the rice in like that and eat the crap however it came out. I imagined that at the worst case scenario, I’d settle for something like this:
I measured the rice out and started washing it. That was when I remembered the ‘Ugwu’ leaves.
Cue 2nd panic attack!
Should I pour the Ugwu inside the rice on fire?! Change of plans. I decided to make vegetable soup (My first attempt ever I must state here) so I left the tomato to boil with the hope that the water content would drop drastically… the rinsed rice was still waiting and turning whiter.
Like I said, I’m a bachelor; my cooker has only one face so everything was turn by turn.
After about 20 mins of boiling, I added everything I could add to the broth: maggi, salt, pepper, onions, fish etc and left it all to cook. I was hoping it would come out looking at least like this:
When I was sure the water content wouldn’t drop anymore, I just added the Ugwu leaves and to my shock, the whole Ugwu leaf just sank into the watery broth like sugar.
Cue 3rd Panic Attack!
Was this how I’ll just dispose of this soup in this period of ‘Change’, I kept telling myself. I was beginning to wish I had gone peacefully to a restaurant to eat.
I removed the ‘soup’ from the cooker and put the rice on to boil. I then ran (literally) to the nearest market to buy more Ugwu and prayed the house wouldn’t burn down before I returned. They offered to cut the Ugwu up for me like the previous one I bought but I refused. I got back home in time to see the froth from the boiling rice all over my cooker, kitchen table and floor. I set about cleaning up everything and when I was through with that, I took the pains to cut and wash the Ugwu leaves. By the time I was done with the vegetables, somehow the rice was ready. I don’t know what part of my mind inspired me to wash the Ugwu with salt but when I was done, I set it up to boil on its own in another pot and when I was satisfied it was sufficiently boiled, I added it to the sunk one in the ‘soup’ and put it back on so old and new Ugwu could mingle in the pot. About five (5) minutes later, I turned off the heat and the food was ready to be served. This process took me the better part of two hours to complete but I was scared of my creation.
Let me state here and now that I couldn’t bring myself to take the picture of the final result of my cooking. My husband material must not tear.
Cue 4th Panic attack!
Was the food safe to eat? Money must not waste o! Would the soup be bitter from the bitter leaf? Who would taste it for me?
Then I got a call from a pal of mine saying he was coming over and I should have something ready for him to eat because he was devastatingly hungry…
Cue evil grin!
My take-away from this experience:
1. Always check what food you have at home
before leaving daily. Don’t assume.
2. It would be safer for you though to learn how to prepare other delicacies. In case you miscalculate, then fix something else up in a jiffy.
3. ‘Ugwu’ leaves are annoying! They end up everywhere and are so hard to wash away! If it wasn’t for their nutritional value, I would have warned to stay away from them.
4. If you don’t like the stress of cooking, continue to eat out, abeg. Being in the kitchen for almost two hours on a tight schedule isn’t fun at all! Kudos to those who handle it with relative ease on a daily basis. For the cooking ladies out there, kudos! I wont look at you same way again.
5. When it comes to cooking, I now admit I’ve got a culinary Midas touch. It’s not a boast; it’s what it is.
6. It always pays to have that friend you can try your experimental meals on. If you don’t have one, then make one or simply turn one of your existing friends to one. 😀
7. That thing you want me to say, I won’t say it. (Grins)
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