The Observer’s former Women and Family Columnist, Miss Fatoumata Nabie Fofana wrote the first version of this article on February 6th of this year.
In her last edition, it was revealed that ‘cooking is an art’ that must be practiced by every African woman.
In western countries, a woman not knowing how to cook does not tend to mean as much as it does here in Africa.
A Western woman's husband can allow her go to work while he takes care of the home and do the cooking. But in an African setting, it is a totally different story. In fact, a man can never marry a woman who does not have a cordial relationship with the kitchen.
Others may possibly understand that this the young lady might not be able to wash, keep the house clean, and make other contributions, but he would never accept the fact that his ‘darling girl’ cannot prepare him something tasty to satisfy his hunger.
This has been a serious problem for some young girls, especially the ones who feel too civilized to spend time over the fire to get the hair on their skin burnt.
Our African mothers understand the risk of having a daughter who has no idea about the kitchen. It becomes her greatest fear that the blame would be placed on her if her daughter cannot fully cater to the needs of her husband when it comes to the kind of food he eats.
The young lady may be beautiful, good when it comes to decision making, and better still hardworking in helping to cater to the financial needs of the family, but if she is not capable enough to prepare a meal that can sweep any many man off his feet, then she has more to learn.
In that case, many will refer to her mother as a mother who has not completely brought up her daughter, and therefore she must return home to complete the learning process.
This situation has been one main contributing factor that leads to the many divorces we today hear about.
When the Observer’s W&F desk spoke to some young men, they claimed that most young ladies appear to be house wife material, but one may have regrets upon taking her home.
Many men think that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
One man said, “Not only knowing how to cook; any woman can put a pot on the fire, put something in it, let it boil and then ‘food is ready.’ But every man would want to eat a meal that is fully seasoned and tastes great,’ he said.
Many men think that the best woman is an uneducated girl who comes from the village, but was properly brought up and knows how to take care of her many domestic responsibilities.
That is true. Many parents also think that the best woman their son could marry is a girl from the village instead of a girl who has degrees but knows nothing about housekeeping.
Let’s not only look at cooking; let’s also look at housekeeping.
Much is involved in housekeeping. That is why it may not be advisable for a young girl to get married too early because she will be unable to take care of her home.
Keeping a house tidy is a lot of work. Modern young women find it hard to waste much of their time on it.
Keeping a house means a lady must be ready to spend her time staying at home and making sure the house is ready to receive guests at all times. She must be willing to spend the entire day washing, cooking, sweeping, and making sure things are in proper condition.
A young man we interviewed said, “The kitchen is the engine room of every home. Knowing how to cook is fine, but I respect a woman who cooks, immediately cleans the place, and makes it look decent by keeping the cooking utensils clean after use.
He went on to explain, “There are two important places in my home, my kitchen and bathroom; I want a wife who can properly take care of them, and not a wife who is always going shopping, fixing a new hair style and looking cute the whole day while my house is upside-down,” he asserted.
“When she can behave like a house wife, all those good things she wants are things I will willingly do for her without complaining at all,” the young man proclaimed.