Last night I cooked for my dad.
I have never pretended I was the best cook in the family. Infact, I am far from it (and I have discussed my familial role in the kitchen in this post). When he is home, my mother usually takes charge and I make the occasional sukuma wiki and kachumbari.
But she is currently traveling, and so it was up to me to feed us both. And my odd diet and eating habits would not cut it.
My mother, as great as a cook as she is, declares my father to be the best kind of “customer.”
"Whatever you put infront of him, he will eat,“ she has told me many times.
Not to say that he has zero taste. Her point is that he is satisfied and grateful with whatever she puts in front of him. Granted, my mother goes above and beyond to make sure she makes food he enjoys, and seasons meats to his tastes etc; but you will never find him in the kitchen ordering his meal. He waits patiently without complaints, eats what you give him and is gracious and thankful when done. Even when he does not have to be. Apparently for many a marriage and relationship, this is quite abnormal.
My mother's point is that, if you are a woman who is juggling a high-powered job, four children, and a full household to run, this kind of man is the best you can find. Last night, I was reminded of her words when I cooked for him.
In the past I have cooked for my dad, and he and I both know that the results could vary. But he eats what he can, will make a joke here and there, and is always encouraging and thankful.
So last night, I decided to cook this Senegalese maffe tiga (peanut butter stew) for him. The recipe was inspired by this version found on the "Ma Cabane aux Delices" food blog. I freestyled much of the recipe because I was missing a few ingredients. I had also made a similar peanut butter stew here a few years ago for father's day (apparently, I associate peanut flavor with my dad), but I wanted to try a specifically Senegalese version as this is a popular West African dish.
I started cooking it pretty late in the evening as I came straight from work. When I finally served him the food, along with kenyan chapati and sukuma wiki, I escaped to a different room as to not view his initial reaction.
“Adhis?” he called from his perch in the living room
“Yes,” I answered nervously, walking towards him.
“This is very good,” he said in my tribal language. “Very delicious”
He was getting up to for more.
“All it needs is some pili-pili (chillies),” he added. And from there we had a conversation about the best chillies to use (he rejected my jamaican hot sauces).
Cooked for my daddy today and he said, "This is very good". As the daughter of an excellent cook (mum), standards are high. This made my yr!
— Adhis (@chefafrik) April 3, 2014
Let me tell you friends, his compliment left me feeling like the most accomplished woman in the world. That was when I sent the tweet above. For the rest of my evening I was on cloud nine and it carried over into the next day.
So this post is dedicated to my father, who will be reading about Chef Afrik for the first time when I send this post to him. He has always been patient with me, eaten the worst of my food and encouraged me and praised me when it is delicious. A true metaphor for the type of father he has been. He has also taught me kindness, thankfulness and graciousness.
Also, it is time to share Chef Afrik with him. It has been almost 2.5 years of blogging. So this is for you daddy. I am truly blessed and I love you.
Catch the recipe below: