A Pepper -Soup Story
Naturally, I write fiction and sometimes lace it with real life stories. This piece is however about me and my clownish act over the weekend.
I love my family and in this case, the healthy mix of people I live with which includes elder sister and two elder cousins. Now, that should automatically make me the youngest – the one who does the cleaning and cooking. Right?
We all love each other, and help as “the spirit” leads and so I don’t do the cooking by compulsion. I do it by choice and hence, when I get my “calling”, I make basic meals such as rice, chicken stew, egg, and dodo. And if my interest gets intense, I may cook vegetable stew, jollof rice etc.
But this weekend was different, I got inspired by something else; football. Don’t blame me; I somehow got a “gist” that guys prefer to watch football outside their house with their friends and also like pepper-soup while watching. Therefore, to keep your man in the house, try cooking pepper -soup on those weekends.
I’m yet to know why I believed that. I’m not married and don’t need to keep anybody at home but it suddenly felt like a married woman that doesn’t cook pepper-soup is lacking in duties. We had a brief argument over it and I told my friend that I do not cook pepper-soup. Her only advice was I’d better learn in advance, if I intend to get married.
By that time, it was 4:45pm. I got up and went to the market, to buy ingredients for pepper -soup. I only have Sundays to myself, and postponing such an event to another weekend was only cramping my next free day. I stopped at the first stall and asked a lady that sells tomatoes, “Where can I buy ingredients for pepper- soup”. She stopped was she was doing and looked at me properly; “Did you say pepper- soup?” she asked. I replied. “Yes”. She smiled and pointed to another stall, “Go to that woman, she sells the ingredients”.
I dragged myself to the stall and asked, “Ma, I want to buy pepper -soup ingredients”. She adjusted her wrapper and answered, “How much own?” I told her and she packed everything for me. I then asked her again, “Is this all the ingredients I need?” She suddenly became puzzled and asked, “Sisi, you never cook am before?” I said “No” and she sent me again to another store where I needed to buy some special leaves to complete the ingredients.
While I walked away, I could feel her eyes on my back, especially on my lower side, partly because I was a novice in the pepper -soup cooking club and also partly because I wore shorts to an open market. I got all my ingredients together and left the market. It was time to cook pepper soup. My elder sister was wondering what I was up to and something must have told her, “no good”. In her mind, she must have been wondering; “Oyinade, cooking pepper -soup on a Sunday? Who is the man?” If only I could tell her I was practicing for the future.
Well, I got my stuffs out and put on the gas cooker; it’s judgment day.
I started cooking and somewhere along the line, I forgot my recipe. I called out to my sister, “Am I supposed to add vegetable or palm oil to pepper -soup?” She turned her face sharply and responded, “Oyinade, oil in pepper soup? Is that how mummy cooks it?” Now, I have to let you know that over the years, I have watched my mother cook but not when she’s making pepper -soup. Is pepper-soup really that important? What is all these pepper-soup makers club conspiracy sef?
I quickly called a colleague and asked her in low tones and she replied, “Errrrmmm, I don’t know oh. Why don’t you call Bola, she may know”. I quickly thanked her and before I could hang up, she said “and please, don’t let people know I don’t know how to cook pepper -soup oh”. Haba!!! Is pepper -soup now the new boiled egg? It was at this point I knew there was more to pepper-soup, its perception and making.
I didn’t have a choice than to called Bola to asked, “Oil in pepper -soup or not”. Bola is married and I know she must somehow be in the pepper -soup makers club. My instinct was right; she had a long laugh and replied, “I will text you a recipe now”. I waited for close to 5 minutes, with the pepper- soup- in –the-making on fire and when I didn’t get the text, I concluded she was not ready to help and I did it my own way. I added palm oil to the pepper- soup.
Her text came in 5 minutes later, and I read clearly, “no need to add oil”. The text came late! I have already added palm oil to the much awaited pepper-soup! What will I tell my people now?
I must have spent 10 minutes looking at the pepper soup + oil that I made and I can imagine if I was married. The poor dude would have had a very good reason to take a stroll out with his friends every time there is a football match, if he ever encounters this type of pepper- soup.
But again, I tried and it just didn’t work. I braved the odds by going out of my comfort zone and trying something new. In as much as I respect women who go all the way to please their men, some of us are not just cut out for the pepper -soup -makers -club. So therefore, in the non-pepper-soup-makers-club, our men will love us like that. With or without pepper- soup.
Writer – “Oyinade is calm, passionate and detailed. She enjoys writing, traveling, listening to people and paying attention to her environment & colours. A brand executive, she constantly strives for quality, excellence, integrity & accountability. She currently works full time with a leading marketing communications firm in Lagos Nigeria.” Check her blog at www.topazandaqua.com
Photocredit – Photodisc