The Medium-Rare Argument
This rule is primarily for cooking beef steak. Chefs will tell you cooking steaks medium rare is the only option. Medium rare means the meat is gray-ish brown on the outside with the centre reddish/pinkish. Cooking time is always about three to five minutes on each side on a grill. Steaks are prime cuts of meat, more expensive than other parts of the cow – so it has to be treated with finesse. Medium rare steaks give you the maximum amount of tenderness and juiciness.
But, we are Nigerians, we like food well done…very well done. So we don’t get why meat has to red on the inside (reminding us of blood) but we might have to adjust our palate because the longer you cook steak, the tougher and drier it becomes. Chefs believe this is arson/massacre/a crime (Pretty strong reactions); but these Chefs forget we are built with Naija teeth. These teeth were made for dragging and chewing meat.
Professionals say if you want a steak well done, go for cheaper steaks like a Sirloin or Rump Steak and cook or grill it low and slow but do not attempt such a travesty on beauties like Striploin or Porterhouse Steak.
Let’s be honest, we do lack some finesse when it comes to butchering animals and handling meat. The conditions the cows are put through already make the cow stressed producing tougher meat. Then the local butchers do not know the different cuts of meat such as the brisket, rib, flank, shortloin, tenderloin, sirloin etc. On how to cut meat right, you are supposed to cut perpendicular to the grain/muscle fibers running through the meat to have softer cuts of meat. And the hygiene is questionable. When you go to a local market and see the way meat is handled, with flies perching on them, meat on dirty wood tables, you will cook the life out of them in a bid to get rid of any bacteria/parasite.
All is not lost though, our cuisine is ever changing, we learn everyday, our preference could become medium rare filet mignon instead of The “Orisirisi”meat choices in our local restaurants. Stranger things have happened.
Knowing How to Cook Palaver
I saw an argument on Facebook recently. It was a pretty heated one and the gist of the whole matter was choosing a homely girl who can cook over a pretty one who can’t, to marry. The reactions were varied and amusing.
Must a girl know how to cook? Personally, I am traditional. My mum ingrained cooking into us since we were kids. It didn’t matter that we had helps growing up; we still found our way into the kitchen to help and learn. Now I love cooking and will do it gladly for loved ones but not everyone’s experience/background/passion is like mine.
So must a girl know how to cook? I do not believe that a lady is somehow incomplete if she doesn’t like cooking or know how to cook. A girl is much more than her ability to cook. She shouldn’t be defined by her kitchen skills. In my opinion it is a sexist argument because I don’t understand why there is no pressure on men to learn how to cook. Do you know that some men believe that being a good cook in the Nigerian context means pounding yam, making amala and cooking local soups? The men with this mindset believe if you can bake, grill and cook foreign dishes, you can’t really cook because no one wants to eat oyibo “medemede” all the time. To these people I say, hire a Cook/Chef. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on a lady.
Cooking is one of the easiest things to learn so no case is hopeless. There are culinary schools where you can be taught. Chefs offer private lessons. Did you know there is a Finishing School in Lagos? I know, it blew my mind too. Their main clientele are new brides or wives who want to learn the art of being a wife, courses include cooking, homemaking, hygiene, etiquette etc. And their men are mostly the ones who bring their women here (major eyeroll). There is also the ultimate learning tool called Google.
Recently, My baby brother wanted to cook pasta and tomato sauce and he was dancing the dance that would have made me or my sister get up and cook the whole thing, (I know, we were enablers.) My sister told him to get a pen and paper and write out step by step instructions on how to cook it and he did and the meal was good – under salted, but it was good.
I believe every one (Boys and girls) should have some kitchen skills. With the amount of meals you will have in your lifetime, you can’t always depend on food vendors or be at someone’s mercy before you eat.
I disagree with this with every fibre of my being. Bia, do I look Dutch/Caucasian to you? The name is Oluwabusayo, that’s about as African as it gets. Why would someone invite me out for a meal and tell me to pay half of the tab? It’s a practice I will never agree to. I don’t even do the move of reaching for my purse. But I do carry “Vex money” – anything can happen.
I believe if a man asks you out on a date, he should pick up the tab a hundred percent. The woman didn’t ask herself out, the man wants her companionship and some conversation, and you want her to pay the bills? And the justification for this is that the woman earns money also and should take care of herself, this is true but not when you asked her out, haba!
Now there is nothing wrong if a woman wants to take a man out on a date but for me to do this, there is already a solid relationship established and its just an occasional treat. We are Nigerians and we are still pretty traditional, the man pays the most bills.
Guys, a word of advice, do not imbibe this practice. It doesn’t help your chances romantically at all. Trust me there is something sexy about taking a girl out and paying for and pampering her. It is classy and speaks good breeding.
The Mr. was telling me about his friend who came back from England just like him but hadn’t imbibed the Naijaness he needed to survive here. He met this girl via social media and they had been talking on the phone and things were good; the day they were to meet, he had to pick her up somewhere. He was very low on cash but the girl said she wanted to eat and they ate. Thankfully, this was a place where he was known so he thought he would pay later but the girl offered to pay and he agreed with the belief that they were Gees and he would make it up to her. Days later, she’s acting funny and he doesn’t get it then he tells his friend this story who burst out laughing and says to him “How can you make a girl pay for the first date? Didn’t you know that was wrong?” He was told it was a rookie mistake. So guys, don’t bring some westernized idea and ruin your dating chances.
These are my thoughts. What are yours? Have a good week ahead, people.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang)