Sunday, August 15, 2010

How Cooking Helps me Express Myself

How Cooking helps me Express Myself
This is not a recipe on how to cook some kind of foods, rather it just one the lessons I’m learning about food, and how it relates to life. Food just like anything in life can become what you want it to be, some people look at food as if food is an enemy that they need to fight. In the sense that is some people constantly talk about what they cannot eat, or how eating certain kinds of food can be very harmful to them. While I don’t disagree that there are certain foods that can be bad for our heath, I believe that it is the attitude one has towards food, not the food itself that can be very harmful. When I was growing up I didn’t eat a lot, sometimes I was forced to finish up my plate of food before I could go out and play. I saw food at that early age as a dread, not as something I enjoyed, because I basically ate so I could have the energy to do more important things. The preparation of food is another story, growing up I often stood in the kitchen where the food was being prepared, and I watched how different things were chopped or minced to add flavor to the food. The idea of me being present at the kitchen when the food was being prepared was to ensure that I could learn how to cook, but being young and very self-possessed I pretended to be watching my sister, aunty, or mom prepare the food, but really could care less.When I first started living on my own with roommates, I realized that most of the things I was supposed to be learning from the lessons I got about cooking, early on fell on deaf ears because I couldn’t fix a meal without asking for a recipe. I had to re-learn all the procedures on how to make a good meal and in the process began to express myself.
The first thing I realized about cooking is that even though it can be a lot of work is actually fun if you put your mind to it. For example, I’m trying to make a recipe with salmon; I have to make sure I put in the right ingredients inside, and the right amount to get a good salmon dish. And if I put in let’s say too much peppers, or garlic, my dish is not going to come out right. This philosophy is the same with life, whatever you put into something, that’s what you’re going to get out of it. If I diligent and careful with the choices I make in life, and also learn from my mistakes and others, I’m more likely to have a fulfilling life. One way you can tell the character of a person, is to go back and review the choices that they have made throughout their life, and how those choices impacted them. One thing that allows me to enjoy cooking, is that I appreciate so many different kinds of food, and I try to understand the culturally aspect of it. Cooking I believe tells a story. Africa is a very large component, and in Nigeria alone, we have all kinds of food, generated from different cultures. Taking a particular dish from any part of Nigerian, and researching on how the food came about, and understanding how this particular food identifies with this culture, can help anyone not only appreciate the food, but also enjoying making it.
The second thing I realized about cooking is that it can be a way to branch out and explore new things. Food sort of pushes you out of your comfort zone, because it exposes you to taste different kinds of food some of which you would want to try on your own. I used to be the kind of person that can play it safe with my cooking, make the same thing every other day and just stick to what I know. While people like my friend Folasike would taste something in a restaurant and Google up the food online to try to find out the ingredients, to make it, I was comfortable making the same things every other night. My favorite foods were jollof rice, fried rice, plantain, egusi soup, potatoes and egg, e.t.c and I would repeat this trend month after month, for years. It wasn’t until my friend brought it up about me not tired of eating the same thing, that I realized it was time for me to explore new things, and expand my knowledge of food. It wasn’t that I didn’t get tired of eating the same thing, the thought of learning something new and not having the time to do so, was something I wasn’t prepared to do. In other words do not get comfortable doing the same things, add some spice in your life by reading up new things, and challenging yourself to be better.
Cooking is also a way of growing as a person, because not everything you learn will come out great. When I first started to bake, I didn’t always measure well, I also put too much of eggs or butter which made my cake either too hard or too soft. I had to learn to discipline myself to take out my measuring cup and add the right amount of baking soda or milk. The idea is that in life you often make mistakes, but the beauty of making mistakes is that it teaches you a better way to handle a problem or look at a situation. One thing that I’m definitely learning form cooking is to tell myself to be patient because something’s take time. Taking for example, the first time I tried Ogbono soup, it didn’t come out as thick as I wanted it, that made me a little discouraged because I viewed myself as a failure. After trying Ogbono soup for the third time it became better, and I felt more confident. Now Nigerian foods are not the only things I make, I’m now practicing how to cook some Italian foods, since I love eating at Italian Restaurants’.
My last point about cooking is that it can help anyone express his/her. At least that’s what cooking does for me, I am a very simple person, who is also reserved but once in a while I like to surprise people with different things I can do. I am not the type of person, one can easily figure out, you’d have to study me very closely to understand me on a deeper level, and just when you think you got me figured out, then I come up with some new thing. That’s the same way with cooking, when I cook you can see my heart, you can tell I genuinely love what I’m doing because I cook with love. When people enjoy what I make I feel loved. There are some dishes that you can tell it sooooo me, the way I make it and also the taste of the food is just a description of my personality. Once in a while I surprise people by doing something completely different, something that they don’t expect because that’s just the way I am. I am somebody who is always curious, and someone who loves to learn about so many different things so I can be well rounded.
I don’t know about you but if every single day of my life is an opportunity to learn and to grow, then that’s what I’ll do. You get out of life what you put into it. Cooking became a fun experience for me, and I know you can learn to enjoy it too. Don’t see cooking as a chore, or a must do activity, instead view cooking as an occasion to not only expand and broaden your knowledge about food, but also as a way of expressing yourself. Love you guys!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My love for Writing!!!

Writing is such a beautiful gift, if you have a passion for it. Some people are born with this gift, while others just learn to write by taking English classes, or even by keeping a journal. I simply started writing when I discovered that I could vent all the emotions I was feeling inside, and express myself in way that would otherwise be impossible.

I grew up reading a lot of books, from Enid Blyton books, Disney stories, to bible stories, I just loved engaging my mind, and learning about new and exciting things. So while other kids would be outside playing, I would curl myself in a corner completely absorbed in a book (I was wired). In the process of reading, I discovered my passion for writing.

I realized I had so many wonderful ideas about family, relationships, work, and interesting information about life in general, and all I did was just talk about them with the people I came across, that were interested. And when I would discuss topics with my friends, that was relevant to their life’s experiences, I‘ll noticed some of my friends trying to take notes, or pausing to think about what I just said.

Sometimes people would call me up and ask me questions about things they were struggling with and I would offer my advice but at the same time leaving them room to think things through for themselves. It suddenly dawned on me that if I could write about some of the things I talked about, it would help me remember them, but most especially help me stay consistent with my words, so I don’t get people confused.

I love to write about things that resonate with me, and things that I truly care about. I love to talk for example, about how to build a strong family, how to get along with people, how to handle relationships, how to discover one’s purpose in life est. (You get the gist). I have to be able to understand, and feel what I’m writing about to deliver it well.

I don’t try to limit myself in my writing, I can write about just about anything, for example, I can write about the details of my day-2- day life, to what I’m passionate about, and even go on to talk about what I can spend my life defending. But the area that I can represent very well is the issues and problems people face in life; because that is the area I believe anyone can identify with.

I can’t fully express how excited I am, when I get feedbacks from people who take the time to read my blog, or even friends who encourage me to continue to do what I do best which is to write. Reading your comments and feedback encourages me to grow not only as a writer but also has an individual. Thank you guys so much!!! My love for writing comes from my deep desire to learn, and to grow, and if that is one thing I can share with the world, that would make me very happy.

Every experience in my day-2 day life is an opportunity for me to turn into a teaching experience. My motto for life is: as long as you have breathed, you have a purpose and a mission to life.

I encourage you all, to stick with me, as I unravel some of experiences in life good or bad, and the lessons I have learned from each of them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reflections in the Mirror

It is very important in life, to sometimes take some time off to reflect on our life. It is good to look back and review our sucesses as well as our failure, and also think of new ways we can make our lives better. For me, doing this comes too easy, because there is no moment that passes by that I’m not thinking about my future, and the choices I am making now with my life. I know life can get very busy at times, that it feels like from the moment we get-up, there are tasks to be accomplished until we go to bed. If care is not taking, we go through life feeling empty, and even frustrated because we are constantly doing something which will end-up draining the energy out of us. Making time for ourselves not only helps us to stay sane, but it also enables us to understand “who we are” better. We get to know ourselves in a deeper way, for instance, we know what makes us different from the next person, what characteristics we possess,and what we’re good at naturally.The only way to find the answers is by being quiet, and looking within.
I admire people, who are confortable in their own skin, and who are excelling in the work that they do that it makes them stand-out. Without even realizing it, I have tried to imitate some of the characteristics that I see in these mentors, and role-models in my life. But the truth is: God made me different and no matter how hard I try to be like somebody else , it is not going to work. I have often wondered what makes me unique, because when I see people like Mariah Carey, or Whitney Houston, what is distinct about them is their voice, when I look at actors like kate Winslet, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, I immediately recognise their acting ability b’cos they are very talented. Even Role-models, and mentors in my life, like mothers, teachers, aunt’s, and uncles, who have influenced my life in a tremendous way have something special about them. When anyone struggles with their identity, or their purpose, they tend to compare themselves with other people, who have qualities they respect, and when they’re not comparing, they’re trying their best to be like someone else other than who they are. And this is what I have tried to do for years, be everyone else but myself. It is great to have role-models in our life, people we look up to, but there is something wrong when we begin to idolize these people or try hard to become like them. Everyone of us, is unique in our own way, and have something special to contribute. When we find God and give him first place in our heart and life, then we find ourselves. Be as honest as possible when God reveals certain truths about yourself. The key to being free is by acknowledging that we’re not perfect, and we do make mistakes but we can learn from them and become a better person everyday. It took prayers, and godly people speaking the truth to me, that helped me accept myself. The result of loving me, and having a positive self-image was incredible; it has not only brought joy to my life, but it has made me more aware of different talents, and gifts that I wasn’t even in touch with.
The beauty of being in touch with your essence, (ie your true meaning) is that you learn something new and intresting about yourself that will help you as journey through life. Isn’t that we want in life to get to know ourselves on a deeper level, that the picture we portray to other people is our best self. One of the suprising things I learned about me, was understanding that many of the qualities, and characteristics, that I admired in some of my role-models, I already had only in a different way. I encourage you everyday to dig deep and learn new truth about yourself, and quit comparing yourself with someone else. If each of us could find that one thing that sets us apart from everyone else; this world would be a better and brighter place.