Somto Ibe: For the love of recipes, old memories and good food… (30 Days, 30 Voices)

by Somto Ibe

Somto Ibe

” I don’t necessarily crave to eat the food, I crave to make the food.”

This morning, I woke up with a stronger-than-usual craving for my grandma’s pancakes. I then remembered I had a few eggs, some milk and some flour so I immediately set to work. I got my laptop and speakers ready (a girl needs her company) and proceeded to create the beauty pictured below.

It is important to note that I had neither brushed my teeth nor showered at this point. Yes! This is how overwhelming the cravings can be.  In all honesty though, these cravings are not entirely strange. Depending on the dream I had, the blog post I read or the individual I spoke to the night before, I wake up from to time with cravings for all sorts of dishes.

Just the other day it was banga soup, and that craving came about largely due to the post I read on, the day before about banga soup. Some might say “Oh, that’s normal, you see something good and you naturally want to eat it.” Well, that’s not particularly the case for me. I don’t necessarily crave to eat the food, I crave to make the food.

Allow me explain. Growing up, I was never allowed to cook for reasons beyond me. I remember feeling jealous during secondary school days when my friends will complain ceaselessly about going home to cook for their younger siblings. I didn’t quite understand why they complained. I would have given anything for my mum to let me cook.

Don’t get me wrong though, my parents raised me well. My mother ensured that I was always in the kitchen while she cooked to watch and occasionally add the salt and/or pepper but to let me cook on my own? Never happened.


I believe being deprived of this “necessity” in my early teenage years affected me albeit positively. The first time I officially cooked a meal, on my own, I was in university. I went to university in the same city my grandparents lived in. Believe it or not, for my first month or two, my grandmother sent some one to school with food for me and ensured I was at her place every weekend. It didn’t take long for my roommates to start making fun of me and calling me an aje-butter, a naive spoilt kid.

They probably didn’t know it, but that statement hurt me (I’m a little too emotional) and I was determined to prove them wrong. One weekend, I pleaded with my grandma to let me stay back, I probably even threw in a lie or two about classes. That Friday evening, I went to the on-campus market, bought all the ingredients I had seen my mum use and I made plantain porridge. My roommates came in and couldn’t believe their eyes and ears for several reasons. First, they had no idea I could cook (I didn’t know I could too). Second, they had never heard about plantain porridge before. Third, they couldn’t believe I was home for the weekend. Lol.

If they had not seen me cut up the ugwu, I doubt they would have believed I made it myself. I offered them portions and needless to say, they loved it. This of course boosted my confidence. I called my mum, grandma, dad, friends etc etc to tell them the good news. It was official, I could cook! Lol.

In conclusion, this is what fuels my love for cooking; the joy that comes with creating something so good that satisfies people’s hunger, the joy that comes with doing something everyone else would have deemed impossible for me, the joy that comes with remembering the times I spent in the kitchen with my late mum and finally, the joy that comes with eating good food.



Somto Ibe is an excessively curious and un-repentantly optimistic young lady aspiring to be a chemical engineer. Asides from cooking and reading, she also enjoys volunteering and giving back to the community. #AnyBodyCanWrite

30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (6)

  1. Am so so proud of you! keep it up Mama Tee.

  2. Somto Ibe Was just about suggesting you opening 1 🙂

  3. lol! Well, I open up my restaurant, I'll be sure to give you a free first plate 😛 Thank you!

  4. Nice post… but I need my own share of the pancakes.

  5. Nice post… but I need my own share of the pancakes.

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail