When a New Wife Cannot Cook

“How best do you think we can resolve this issue between Akin and his wife?”

“Honestly, it’s as if you were reading my mind.  I’ve been thinking seriously about what is happening between the two of them. But what can we do now that Akin has insisted Yemi must pack out of his house.”

“You know what? I think Akin is taking this issue too far.  How can he break a marriage that is barely one year old? It will be a big disgrace not only for the two of them; but you and me too! Akin is our mutual friend, you know.”

“But you also know that the guy doesn’t give a damn. He seems to have made up his mind.”

“Yes, I know, but I’m not happy that he’s making a big issue out of the simple case between him and his wife. I don’t think such a small matter between them should lead to the kind of action he’s threatening to take against Yemi. Our friend is just too stubborn and he’s not showing enough maturity.”

“Hold it there, Supo. While I’m not in support of his decision to leave his wife, I equally believe that Yemi should be blamed for what is happening to her marriage. How can an African woman claim that she doesn’t know how to cook? What kind of a wife is that?”

“Must Akin then send her out of his house simply because she cannot cook? What kind of love affair is that?”

“I think you’re speaking out of ignorance. Let’s wait until you get married to know if you too can tolerate a wife that doesn’t know how to prepare a simple eba and egusi soup.”

“Well, ‘man shall not live by bread alone.’

“Okay o, continue to deceive yourself.  As far as I’m concerned, any wife that cannot cook good food for her husband is an incomplete wife.”

“Look, Ade, you need to wake up. We are now in a modern world. You are in Lagos; you are no longer in your village where all those old school systems of marriage may still be operating. Lagos babes don’t have time for all those nonsense.”

“No wahala! By the time your friend sends his wife out maybe you will harbor her under your roof.”

“How can you say such a thing?”

“Oh, ooo! So, that pains you, abi? I’m saying a lady is not performing her marital duties properly and you are telling me rubbish. Why don’t you wait and marry her when Akin takes his decision.”

“You see, Ade, the point is that Yemi shouldn’t be blamed for her inability to cook. At least you know she’s from a rich home where everything is done by her parents’ domestic servants. Just like her other siblings, she has never been to the kitchen for once.”

“Then, let’s blame her parents for spoiling her; most especially her mother. I think Yemi should just go back to her father’s house where she won’t have to cook. It’s as simple as that.”

“But seriously, Ade, why should Akin insist that his wife must do the cooking when he can afford to employ a cook for the house?  Is he not the same man that has graciously employed a washman, a cleaner, and a driver for Yemi? How much would it cost him to get a cook in addition? ”

“Can you see how you have spoken as if you’re not an African man? You know pretty well that every original African man wants to eat a food personally prepared by his wife. That’s one of the reasons for calling her a wife in the first instance; so forget the idea of employing any cook.”

“If that’s the case, why didn’t Akin consider this before marrying the lady? Why didn’t he look before he leaped? Was he not the same guy that was busy taking Yemi to one restaurant after the other while they were still courting? Today na Golden Gate, tomorrow na Sweet Sensation! He spoilt the lady joo.

“Supo! Supo! Supo! How many times have I called you? The period of courting is not the same as the period of marriage. The honeymoon is over so Yemi must play her roles in the house!”

“Okay, I heard you. But now that Yemi doesn’t even know how to do the cooking, would anyone force her?”

“Let her go and enroll at a catering school. They will teach her how to prepare pounded yam and others. Have you forgotten the common saying that ‘olobe lo loko’ (the woman that knows how to cook owns the husband)?

“Never! Yemi is too big for that. She will never agree to that kind of arrangement.”

“Then she should accept whatever befalls her as a result of her arrogance.”

“Ade, she has insisted that Akin must employ a cook, and I agree with her because Akin can afford it. In fact, even if she goes ahead to obtain a PhD in cookery today, she would never cook because it doesn’t interest her.”

“And you think she’s in her right senses? Does she realize that ‘husbands are scarce’ in town? What a spoilt brat she is?”

“Is it a crime for a lady to come from a well to do background? She has consistently insisted that she didn’t marry Akin because of food, so why can’t we give her that singular honour of being a rich man’s daughter?”

“That’s not the point, my friend. It’s a matter of ‘obinrin so ’wa nu o ni ohun o lori oko – a woman has no manners but keeps complaining of being unlucky with men!”

“You’re too harsh a man, Ade.”

“Call me whatever you like, but let me tell you another thing: Do you know why many Nigerian ladies in London or America find it hard to find husbands?”

“No! Tell me.”

“It’s because of this kind of a thing. They’re so used to Oyinbo life that they can’t do what African women should be doing. How, then, can they find good husbands?”

“But don’t you think that’s why the life of Oyinbo people is so simple and more enjoyable? Awon o m’aiye le to yen keee. Their life is so simple. They don’t count the types of things we celebrate here at all.”

“Well, that’s why they’re Oyinbo. But our own ladies are not Oyinbo so they must not behave like Oyinbo; most especially on issue of marriage. Our ladies want African men to perform certain responsibilities as original ‘Africa man’; yet they don’t want to reciprocate by doing what African women are expected to do!”

“You’re just too local for my liking, Ade.”

“I agree. Let me remain a local man for this purpose. There is another thing I must say about those our Oyinbo ladies sef.”


“Do you know that many of us accuse our brothers or uncles of refusing to return home from abroad?”


“Have you ever sat down to think about why they don’t want to come back?”

“Yes. It’s because they’re afraid of the situations on ground in Nigeria – insecurity, electricity wahala, unemployment etc.”

“It goes beyond all those, Supo.”

“Educate me, then.”

“You see, many of them are scared that they may be forced to divorce their wives when they both get back home.”

“How do you mean?”

“It is simple. A man brings back home his wife from London and by the time she lands in Naija she has to cook for the husband, his father, his mother, his brother, his sister etc. Yet, our London wife is not used to all those. Before you know it, pressure will begin to mount on her husband to do something about his ‘useless wife.’”

Haa! We have problems in this country.”

“I disagree with you. It is not a problem at all. It is our culture and our ladies must just live with them.”

“So they must be turned to slaves when they’re married, eh?”

“No, they must be happy to be married. And they must do all those things like cooking, washing, cleaning etc with happiness. It’s part of what makes marriage last in our environment. In fact, ‘ile oko, ile eko ni’ – marriage is a school of life for a woman.”

Hmmm, I just wonder if any of the ladies out there will agree with you.”

“Who cares? Let them disagree with me at their own peril.”

“In short, you’re trying to say that a woman must just serve her husband and her in-laws to be accepted.”

“You have used the word ‘serve’ but I can choose to call it another name.”

“But that’s what it is! You want a lady to serve in her marital home; and serving means being servitude!

“Not necessarily, Supo. I will rather see it as keeping one’s marital home as an African lady.”

“Are we not saying the same thing?”

“No, there is a difference between keeping your home and serving at home.”

“Hmmm, it’s only God that can deliver the African ladies from men like you.”

“Again, you are wrong. It’s the other way round: African men need deliverance from African ladies.”

“Okay ooo; e don do. Let’s go.”

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2 thoughts on “When a New Wife Cannot Cook”

  1. Smile wt a nice article sir! A real Africa Lady most knw hw 2 cook,everyman will want his wify to cook 4 him! Ladies dt does nt knw hw 2 cook,the fault is 4rm their mothers,’sorry 2 say’ bt dts d truth! Thank God Iya Aramide thought me how 2 cook,proud of her! Thnks Mum! My advice 4 Akin is to send her 2 catering skol or employ som1 dt knws hw to cook to teach her,If truly the wify luvs her husband nd she is nt ready to loose him! She shuld do wt her Husbands wnts,oko awon lode oo!

  2. Smile wt a nice article sir! A real Africa Lady most knw hw 2 cook,everyman will want his wify to cook 4 him! Ladies dt does nt knw hw 2 cook,the fault is 4rm their mothers,’sorry 2 say’ bt dts d truth! Thank God Iya Aramide thought me how 2 cook,proud of her! Thnks Mum

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