What She Said: Men Joke About Marrying Me Because Of Food

April 14, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is Thelma Egbe, a 28-year-old woman who loves cooking. She talks about growing up in a family where the men and women cooked, growing a food blogging and catering business, and how adulting almost made her stop.

What was your childhood like?

I spent a part of my childhood in Calabar before leaving for the UK. Calabar is known for good meals — if you know you know. My parents are both great cooks so it was easy to fall in love with cooking. I lived around a lot of family so I watched my uncles cook as well.  It was when I joined Twitter that I found out that Nigerian fathers didn’t cook. 

Around when I turned 12, I started assisting my aunt in the kitchen. I hated it at first, but I learnt how to prepare dishes during that time. I became fascinated with how you could put three or four ingredients together and come up with something really tasty. Sometimes when I was cooking, I would pretend that I was on the Maggi cooking show, which was one of my favourite shows. 

Do you remember the first meal you made on your own?

It was palm oil rice and I got paid for it. I was 13.

How did that happen?

My godmother is a big caterer and she noticed how much I loved cooking. One day, she asked me to make her native rice. After she ate it, she gave me money as a well-done gift. I don’t remember how much it was, but it was big money at that age. 

What happened next? 

Cooking became more exciting when my family and I moved to England. My parents were happy to invest in ingredients for me to learn more. I looked up culinary schools, saw how expensive they were and I backed out.  

When I turned 16, I was sure I wanted to do something food-related. During this time, we were doing a course at school that required us to use Blogger. I thought food blogging would be a good way to document my cooking journey but I was worried that no one would read my work. 

I eventually started in 2015 because my friends and family thought I would be great at it. When I started, it was fun to me and for a while, it was the only thing that got me excited. 

Did you make money from it? 

For my mum’s 50th birthday, I cooked up a storm. I made jollof rice, fried rice, barbeque chicken, white rice with stew, and small chops for over 50 people. She was so happy she cried — it was a surprise. The guests at the party loved the food. Some of them even asked for take away packs. That felt like the sign I needed to go into catering. 

After that, I started catering and selling to university students, but I had to stop because it was interfering with school and work as well. I decided to focus more on blogging. I also worked on my social media pages to look like a business page so I could work with other brands.

Did that work out? 

2016 was a major year for me because I got a lot of recipes out but focusing on blogging wasn’t easy. I found it difficult and time-consuming. Cooking is easy but documenting the process is the enemy. 

What are some of the challenges you experienced while documenting your process?

My family had to eat late because I had to write down everything I did or used along the way and photograph the process as I went. Before I put out a recipe, I had to make the meal at least three times to make sure the recipe I wrote was accurate. This cost a lot of money. 

In between 2018 and 2019, I reduced the frequency with which I put out content. I barely wrote recipes during that time. 

Why? 

2018 was when I started adulting properly and it was overwhelming. I stopped living with my parents, so I didn’t always have extra money to spend. Also, I didn’t have as much access to kitchen gadgets that were a huge part of my process. My job was exhausting as well. 

In 2019 I got pregnant and I was always tired from work, so my weekends were specifically for resting. 

How did you feel about being away from food blogging? 

I felt like I was letting myself down because I had invested in it. One of my new year resolutions last year was to work my way back to consistent content. I planned to write more recipes and create more video content on social media. 

How is that going so far? 

It’s been good. I think the pandemic helped because more people had time and wanted to learn how to cook more. My social media engagement numbers are climbing. People send messages thanking me for the recipes and requesting more.

What is being a mum while blogging about food like?

At first, I thought it would affect me because motherhood is a lot, but my partner made everything a breeze. He would carry my son away from me so I have enough time and space to do my work. When I am done, I join them. 

That’s amazing. I’m curious about what it feels like being a woman that loves to cook and somewhat conforming to what society expects of women. 

People love to eat and I love to feed them. But I hate it when men send me weird messages wishing their women could cook like me. Some men joke about marrying me because of food. Most of the comments annoy me because, in a bid to compliment me, they are insulting other women who don’t care about cooking. 

What are your future plans? 

I am currently in the process of going back to selling food. I am also collaborating with a brand. This time, I am taking my time to plan well so everything runs smoothly.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

March 12, 2021

Although some people regret having children, there are still some that have things to be grateful for about being a mother. These five Nigerian women share the best thing about being a mother. Zuma, 34 My favourite part of being a mother is the fact that I have little people that think I am the […]

Travel Nigeria
March 9, 2022

Today’s #ZikokoWhatSheSaid subject is Omotoke Fatoki, a 29-year-old Nigerian woman.  She talks about how growing up with her grandmum and spiked her curiosity for Nigerian cultures, falling in love with the north during her tour across Nigeria, and tips on travelling with a broke girl budget

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

More from Her

July 31, 2022

In this letter #ToHER, @busayo_os. goes off-brand to be mushy with her best friend, Ifeoma. They’ve been friends for 4 years and this is the closest thing to an “I love you” Ifeoma may get in the next 3 years.

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X