The kitchen has never been my fortress, except of course when I am going to fetch food. Being brought up in a girls-only environment exempted me from doing any chores pertaining to the kitchen. But nature has a way of making you curse a privilege you so immensely enjoyed, thrusting you in a jungle where you are all alone. In your stray wanders, you find yourself relishing the magic that happens in the kitchen, and of course, Miss Google comes to your rescue, a subservient kind of girl who obeys all your instructions but doesn’t do anything. She tells you how to cook rice and bolts out like she wasn’t even there.
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Back when we were young, I’d watch my mother cook, letting my eyes indulge in every single move her hands made. But then, as a man, it reaches a point where it becomes sort of an abomination to be in the kitchen anymore. The kitchen in the village sense is a smaller structure constructed specifically for cooking, and more often it would be blackened by sooth. The sooth would collect over years until it forms something like a goatee. That sooth goatee served a purpose, a medicinal one. I have never bothered to know the kind of ailment the sooth-goatee heals.
I am glad I am not alone lost in this jungle that is the kitchen. When the pangs of hunger bite, a man’s got to roll up the sleeves, hit the kitchen with the hope that he will concoct something palatable. Plenty of times the food comes out exceptional (in its wackiness) and he finds himself really grateful for whoever has ever cooked a meal for him in the last quarter a century. Mothers become heroes all of a sudden, and if she was already one, the spectrum only widens, so does respect. Imagine cooking meals day in day out, whether she feels like it or not? I think that’s the definition of valor.
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The first day is often the harshest. You burn yourself, the food comes out tasteless, too much salt…..plenty. The only consolation is that no one has to remind you of its tastelessness. But then when you are done, another bigger challenge confronts you; doing the utensils. Most of a man’s utensils have been discarded having stayed long enough for mold to grow; making a permanent abode on what was once a bed for ‘mouthwatering’ delicacies. The reason is a man will find it too hectic to wash and will resort to buying, especially sufurias, instead of washing.
As a bachelor, there’s always that one lady that makes a visit every weekend. She believes that there are no lies in your truths, sometimes she questions but ‘love’ makes her constitutionally ignorant. She’s upbeat every weekend doing chores around (cooking, washing) as you head out to watch football in the hood. In the evening when you head home you find everything clean, and food on the table or at your beck and call. Before long, you are asking her to move in with you in order to counter the effects of your whacky cooking. In between, when she’s gone, the man in you only cooks meals that involve boiling and doesn’t make the sufuria dirty.
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There will be always another woman who knows a man’s favorite menu, the kibandaski woman. She knows the number of chapatis you’ll eat when in a certain mood, she smells your broke ass many miles away and she knows why you don’t show up on weekends, yet she is not jealous at all.
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