Cooking and food in general is an interesting topic. Some people find fulfilment in it, while others find it a source of tension. It is the latter group of people who have prompted this article.

You might be curious: are there women who do not find the process of putting a meal together day-after-day enjoyable? Yes, there are, and I spoke with 8 Nigerian women on why this rings true for them.

Amaka, 22

I dislike cooking and would rather not engage in it. Growing up, one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t be able to cook for my husband or children. My mum and man both cook for me, but that’s only because I trust them and they cook fire. If I was to have friends over they’d either have to eat before coming or I cook. Depending on my mood and how it turns out, they’ll eat it like that. If the people coming over are more than four, we might have to get a cook, because I can’t go through all that. It’s not that I can’t cook, I can when I have to. But if I can, I will avoid it entirely. Also, cooking shouldn’t have to be a gender role. I have this guy friend who didn’t know how to cook and his sister would always starve him when they fought. I had to teach him because it was getting out of hand. Some men just want to marry women who’ll cook fresh meals every day for them. Mai dia, the soup is at the bottom of the freezer, you know how to use the microwave. Biko, I don’t like stress.

Patricia, 29

I cooked actively from age 14 and I thought I liked it until I started living by myself. Now, I look forward to having an inhouse cook. On top of the million and one things I have to do work and business-wise, there’s kitchen duties waiting? I’d rather avoid that when I can.

Osas, 23

Cooking is a motherfucking scam. All that stress for how many minutes of eating? I’m always so worried I’d flop and the food will come out nasty. That’s one of my insecurities. Funny enough, I enjoy making moi moi. I don’t care about people’s expectations of me to cook for them because I’m a woman. My ex couldn’t cook, so I cooked while we were together, but he wasn’t super selective and helped out. However, he knew I don’t like cooking and would rather eat out. My present man is a good cook, he’s been cooking all the time we’ve been together. I only make the odd noodles now and then. We’ve not been together for so long though. So let’s see how long it’ll last. I’ve made it clear I can’t cook and would outsource if I could. I keep saying it so it won’t shock him when I refuse to cook. He was talking to his sis the other day, and she was asking if I could cook. I just laughed, it cannot be me! Whenever I start seeing someone new, I simply say, “I can’t cook, I like to eat out.” I’ve heard that I’m wasteful, but how does that affect anyone’s bank account besides mine?

Angel, 21

How does cooking for 2 hours just to eat in 10 minutes sound to you? Mind you, the dishes have to be washed after too! All for a few minutes of pleasure! By the way, the price of raw rice and cooking ingredients alone will buy me food for one week. One can even still cook, and the food might not be sweet again. Nope, I’m not up for that. I’ll pass. Although, cooking once in a while can be fun.

Samantha, 23

Cooking for me largely depends on my mood, and when I do cook I prefer doing it in bulk. For example, I could cook a pot of stew, soup and other stuff for the week, to avoid stressing over what to eat. So, while I don’t outrightly hate it, I do it out of necessity. I have friends who come alive when cooking, good for them. Everyone’s wired differently, I guess. What I can’t stand is how entitled Nigerians are, especially the men. I once called a couple of my guy friends out for always expecting me to cook whenever they came over to mine, or I theirs. If there were no women on earth, wouldn’t you figure out how to make a meal? It’s a freaking survival skill and I’m tired of people acting like it’s a gender-specific thing to do. Grow up, I’m not your mama.

Dera, 24

I do not like cooking; the smell, heat, cleaning up after. I don’t even wear the clothes I’m wearing to work in the kitchen. As a result, I eat out about 2 – 4 times a week, but I don’t eat a lot, so there’s that. I and my sister stay in the same estate, so she feeds me like 4 times a week and I pay her to arrange stew for me. We have a kind of arrangement – as long as I make pancake for her she will feed me.I don’t really do relationships, so I don’t know if my hatred for cooking might end up being an issue. But my mum has repeated it so many times that if I end up in a serious relationship, she’ll inform the persons family, “My child doesn’t like kitchen. If she doesn’t feed you, it’s not like she’s being wicked. It’s just not her thing.” (In Yoruba )

Uju, 23

I hate cooking sometimes, and other times I tolerate it. It is also one of the things I hate about being home during school breaks. My mum would just look at me and go, “What are we eating this night?” That question kills me everytime, because then I have to go to the kitchen and start cooking. She’s obviously not pleased with me about that. Lol. On the other hand, if I was to live by myself, I’d hardly ever cook. I’ve also realised that I don’t mind cooking for others, especially when I have guests over. It’s just something I catch myself doing naturally, but to cook for myself? Not so much. Lately though, I’ve been forced to cook a lot because the restaurants around here suck!

Titi, 20

I hate cooking and only tolerate it when I’m probably trying to impress someone I like. The thing is, I can cook, but if I have the opportunity to avoid it entirely, I’d definitely do that. I hate the stress that comes with it. Maybe because I was always forced to cook while growing up. My mum legit choked me with the “You’re a girl, and the first daughter. You have to know how to cook for your husband” narrative so much that I grew up to resent it. Now, I really don’t like getting my hands messy.


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