MY COOKING EXPERIENCE
For this contest, I was required to prepare my traditional meal Ohwe ede (cocoyam soup) and kola
So, I had to provide a recipe with my submission, meaning I had to keep track of items, quantities and instructions.
As a first step, we got our photos taken in a chef's coat.
It was fun seeing everyone try to look cool in the heat.
Next, I had to do a "pantry run" which is essentially a race to a table with various ingredients I can use in creating my meal. Once I had the ingredients, I had 90mins to prepare my meal. I have never had to prepare a meal using firewood in such a rush.
I was quite nervous as it was my first time in a cooking competition. Well just like in preparing a meal at home, I had to be well composed and keep in mind my timing.
I made sure that all items like pepper, chopped onion, prawns, periwinkles, salt, seasoning etc. were kept ready in required quantity.
Setting up the fire was quite difficult as I was trying to light the wood and create space for air flow to avoid excess smoke.
Grinding the cocoyam into fine particles in a mortar was one of the most difficult process I had to go through as that was the first time I personally prepared cocoyam soup. for I had only watch my mother do it.
After letting the pounded cocoyam dissolve completely, the other items were added one after the other on timely bases. Within this period, I confidently stood close to the fire constantly blowing it with my eyes all reddish and teary waiting to bring down my pot of soup.
The easiest part of my cooking task was to make eba and prepare my traditional kola (oso oji).
At this time, I was pretty much excited as I knew I had kept to time. Out of my excitement, I confidently divided the kolanut into 4 parts as though I was a professional and just immediately, I realized I had done the wrong thing. but the deed had already been done with my super excitement.
I can confidently say I did my best to make an attractive and appealing meal reminding me of a virtuous mother's qualities.
My FIREWOOD FETCHING EXPERIENCE
The firewood fetching task was an adventurous one. It is a task I call the treasure hunt.
On arrival to the scene, i was instructed to go into the bush in search of hidden firewood along with other maidens.
While in the bush, I discovered dried plantain leaves disguised as firewood. This made hunting quite difficult for me as I had spent 2 minutes of the time given running about in the bush with only one piece of wood.
But however, as a determined adventurer ready for success I quickly devised a strategy which was looking out for bigger woods in unusual places like heaps of grasses and at last success smiled at me. I was able to get 5 lofty firewood out of the bush on time but by the time I arrived at the apartment, I was worn out and tired.
MY TRADITIONAL STOVE MAKING EXPERIENCE
My stove making experience was quite intense and required one to get her hands dirty, very calculative with good sculpting skills. I literally had no idea on how to make one except for my high school experience of making clay pots.
As a first step, I set off to get enough clay soil that I thought would be enough to sculpt my stove.
I added water to the clay and started mixing the water and clay together using my hands to get the preferred texture suitable for making my stove.
When I got comfortable with the texture, I started off with the moulding process with the idea of I needed a big and thick stove that I could adjust to let my pot sit pretty well on it.
But then something went wrong. I discovered the more I added clay, my stove was decreasing in height and increasing in size. I became very confused and nervous trying to find the reason why, I discovered I had added much water to my clay. Still keeping in mind my timing, I hurriedly collected more clay, added little quantity of water and YES! I got what I wanted but I was such in a hurry to round up my task on time that I forgot to smoothen my stove but I'm glad I made something meaningful out of clay soil.