Necessity, the mother of invention: How Henry learnt the art of cooking

Pork, Vegetables, Rice and Shrimps

“Cooking is so popular today because it’s the perfect mix of food and fun,” – Emeril Lagasse

From the tropical West African country called Nigeria, Henry’s ethnic group lies in the middle belt of the country. Historically, the culture of the people in that region has been patrilineal. The men in the region were mostly farmers and as farmers, the need for more hands on the farm meant that men married more wives so that they could raise more children whose help was badly needed on the farm. This culture prevailed till the 21st century.  Even in the 21st century, the variation is that both parents do white collar jobs but the woman still takes care of most household chores especially cooking.

Henry grew up in a nuclear family of four children. Growing up, his father was his role model and he always tried to emulate his dad’s speech pattern, love for soccer and dressing style. His dad rarely went to the kitchen; only on special occasions to share a joke and appreciate his wife. His mum loved cooking and did it delightfully everyday.  Henry grew up never having anything to do in the kitchen and it never interested him. Basically, he was satisfied to have food readily available to him and did not think much about the details of the food’s preparation.

Early 2014, Henry moved to Australia to pursue his educational goals. His friends who had been in Australia for a while took over the role of Griffith Mates and ensured that he settled in well. He loved the weather and the relaxed lifestyle instantly. Because he did not know how to cook, he was a regular at Restaurants and spent about $23 per meal.  He knew he could not keep up with that sort of lifestyle as a student and sought to find a resolution. He started by asking his friends but it seemed like a blind person leading another. They did not like cooking and should have had honorary certificates from McDonald’s for the number of burgers they had consumed.

The transformation in his life started when he went to get grocery items on his own for the first time with his own list drafted by himself. Talk about first times. He searched the internet for tomato soup (stew) recipes because he wanted to make a simple meal of boiled rice, tomato soup and chicken. While searching for the recipe, he stumbled on this culinary quote from the famous Alton Brown:

“A home cook who relies too much on a recipe is sort of like a pilot who reads the plane’s instruction manual while flying.” – Alton Brown

Henry challenged himself by reading the recipe once and then proceeding to trying it out. The result was amazing to him. He took many pictures of the tomato soup and sent them to his family.

1st cooking

1st cooking – Tomato Soup or Stew

This served as Henry’s Aha moment, the eureka moment, the love for cooking took over. Henry started cooking everyday and even developed his own recipes like savoury egg and cheese sauce and his own special kind of mashed potatoes.  The rest can be viewed below:



– Henry



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