My friend Larkor deserves the accolades for this one. Enjoy, everyone! I miss you guys so much and this is one of my attempts to win back your love after going MIA for so long. 🙈 So much has happened and too much time has gone by to waste your time with long explanations. Just one request: when you pray, pray for me as well! And yes, the next Room1045 episode is inching its way out of my drafts. I enjoyed writing this one. I hope you enjoy reading it!
This is not the day to have a headache. And this is certainly not the day to be downing another shot of Jack Daniels while chomping on smoked bacon and scrambled eggs at 3am in the morning. And yet here I am. Sitting on the counter of my kitchen island in just my panties, breaking about 6 hygiene rules, while Patti La Belle croons away through my Bluetooth speakers.
My eyes follow the neon glow in the dark hands of my wall clock for a good five minutes. Then I drag the whole bottle of Jack Daniels closer to me and my lips part aggressively to receive the liquid like a nursing child pulls on his mother’s aching nipple.
Did I mention I am sitting in the dark? Yes, that’s what you do when you are trying to avoid reality. Reality as in you are 54, fat, single- actually make that nursing the wounds of being jilted by your under aged lover, with nothing to your name except fame and cook books.
‘He said I cooked too much. What does that even mean? How many women even know how to cook well? How many women enjoy cooking? How many women are Cordon Bleu trained?’ How many women know the difference between the different types of Gorgonzola cheese?’, I say to nobody in particular. My state of the art kitchen stares back at me in silence.
Kobena was not my type. Apart from both being Ghanaians, we had almost nothing in common. He had gone to public schools all his life. I did the CTK- SOS- Swiss Culinary Arts Academy before heading to Le Cordon Bleu. He liked Indomie with sausage khebab covered in khebab pepper, while my to-go quick meal was a steak fajita bowl with garlic lime rice, washed down with a glass of wine. But he was cute, funny and very skilled under the sheets. That is how he ended up moving in- and then out after 5 weeks.
What is on my agenda for today?
I casually look at my Apple watch to see what I have on the agenda.
First Day of Cooking Class!!
Instantly, the headache intensifies. It had honestly felt like a good idea when I put up the cooking class ad up on social media. I was tired of cooking for someone else’s restaurant and yet too lazy to start my own. Cooking classes seemed like the perfect step after successfully publishing three books on gourmet cooking on a budget. What could be better than teaching people how to make delicious food? Great idea, right?
Now? Not so much.
‘Wait, wait, you- you, Bruce Ampah, Mr I am allergic to washing dishes, Mr I will never enter the kitchen, Mr-‘
‘Yeah yeah we get the point.’
Bruce rolls his eyes and shakes his head. She is laughing that loud laugh of hers. The one that she rolls out for boys boys. Yes, that is also a synonym for friend zone. The zone he had been sitting in since Class 4. Until Maa Bea found out.
His mother had always had that thing. The ability to read him like a book. She never even saw the two of them- him and Ayebea. All she did was hear his side of a long conversation with Ayebea one Saturday night. She had cramps and he was cracking jokes so she could laugh and forget the pain.
‘She doesn’t know, does she?’ Maa Bea quipped as soon as he got off the phone.
‘That you are hopelessly in love with her.’
‘Awww my poor baby. Do you plan to tell her?’
And that someday was inching closer and closer. Two weeks ago, she had tweeted about how she loved men who could cook. The next day, he signed up for the class.
He was going to ace that class, cook her a three course meal and tell her that he fell in love with her the first day she threw a crumpled paper into the dustbin and yelled ‘Basket!’
‘So you are not going to tell me why you signed up for the class? You know cooking involves onions, right? You hate onions. Why are you learning how to cook?’
‘You will find out soon enough.’
‘Aargh, you know how at the beginning of the year, you make such grand resolutions like this year I will sign up for cooking classes and take my cooking more seriously?’
‘Yeah, I planned to get my before baby body back, and yet here I am stuffing my face with sandwiches and a milkshake, instead of drinking green tea. That’s clearly not happening.’
The ladies sat in silence for a while, as they watched their children play in the kids corner the restaurant had set up.
‘I am tired of waiting for that perfect moment. It is now or never. I know the kids are young and I know I don’t have the money to go on a frolic on my own, not when Steve refuses to have anything to do with the kids, but I need to do this. I still see it- a big sign with Akorfa’s Kitchen on it.’
‘Yes!!! Do it. I am tired of listening to you criticize other people’s cooking and going on about what spice would bring out the flavour in the food. You need to start your own kitchen so that I can eat for free AND criticize your cooking, even though to be fair, your cooking is pretty flawless. I still think about that okro soup you made three years ago. Divine!’
‘Well, if you of all people approves, then I must be doing something right.’
‘Oh yeah I forgot. Now I have someone to blame when we get to heaven, when Jesus asks me why I never lost the weight. I will put my best surprised look and say ‘You never tasted Akorfa’s fish pie, did you?’
‘I am never giving you fish pie.’
‘Is that your final answer?’
That’s the problem with a lie. You need to keep telling more lies or else the truth will be uncovered and it is never pretty.
You see, I know this, which is why I don’t know why I told them I could cook. Not the ‘I make a really nice omelette’ kind of cooking, the ‘I can start a restaurant in my backyard’ kind of cooking.
I don’t know why I did it. It just seemed like everyone had something great going for them. What would you do when you are at game night with a table full of overachievers? A neurosurgeon who conducts his church choir, a lawyer who has a fashion side gig, a writer who has published his second book and is thinking of writing a web series next, a music producer who was working with all the biggest stars.
You guessed right. I told them I was a gourmet chef. Everyone oohed and aahed, and then they asked me to cook them dinner in a week’s time.
I know it was stupid. Like why didn’t I think of something like copywriting in a ad agency or working in an investment bank? Something I didn’t have to prove.
This big mouth of mine! It got me in trouble when I was 5, and to this day, I still haven’t learnt my lesson.
There goes my 2500 Ghana cedis!
‘Welcome to cooking class. My name is Letitia Boakye. This is not a quick fix class. It will push you. It will frustrate you. It will excite you when your crème brûlée comes out perfectly after attempt number 25.’
Nervous laughs fill the room.
‘Oh yeah, I meant that, and we are not closing until you get it right, but if your head is in the right place, you will love it. You will also never be hungry ever again. You can whip up masterpieces with the leftovers in your fridge. Now, let’s create some magic!’
I really missed you guys! ❤