Few things are as painful as investing in a pot of ogbono soup, only to find your creation isn’t what you expected it to be. You bought the ingredients; ogbono, palm oil, smoked fish, beef, ponmo, smoked prawns…the works! You started cooking with great expectations, only to finish and find that your ogbono soup has refused to ‘draw’.
You went to the market, and you took your eyes along with you, as our Yoruba brethren would say. Yet, love left you empty-handed. Have you ever felt this pain? Have you started a relationship and things were looking so good you were sure this was IT, only for it to turn out a total flop? Let’s look at 5 possible culprits.
1. You left the lid on
This is the one we are most familiar with. When making ogbono soup, or any other mucilaginous soup (‘draw’ soup), you must leave the pot open. Never leave the lid on. Even after it is ready, you should still leave it open till it cools.
When I broke up with my boyfriend in University, he told me that his friends had predicted it. When I asked why, the answer he gave me made no sense to me at all: our relationship was too low key. I didn’t understand it. How did not being seen together enough or our relationship not being public enough make us susceptible to a break up? I totally get it now though. When a relationship is all covered up, it is easy for things to go wrong, for one person to be used/manipulated/abused, for one or both partners to feel no sense of commitment. When your relationship is public knowledge and both of you are recognised as an item in your social circles, your relationship cooks better. Take the lid off.
2. You used too much onions
Onions are wonderful, but if you go overboard with them, the acidity will cause your ogbono to lose that mucilaginous quality. A little drama is good for a relationship; those passionate tears and intense moments can bring you closer together and add delicious flavour. Too many tears? Things go downhill, quickly.
3. You added too much crayfish
Crayfish adds a dimension to Nigerian soups that nothing else can, not to mention it is rich in protein. However, too much crayfish in your ogbono soup will ruin it, pretty much the same way too many seminars, marriage books, relationship DVDs, counselors and other such “enrichments” will turn your relationship into a classroom. And then it won’t be long before one student gets fed up.
4. You turned off the heat too quickly
To get really thick ogbono soup, you really have to let it cook. The longer it cooks, the more it will ‘draw’, so don’t be in a hurry to turn off the heat. It not only thickens with time, it tastes better too. Sure, no relationship stays hot and bubbling all the time, but don’t let your ardour cool once she says yes, or become complacent and let yourself go once he’s committed to you; you’ll lose the good thing you had going. Keep things simmering on low heat for a good while and the outcome will be downright delicious.
5. You bought bad ogbono
Yep. You can’t make a good pot of soup with poor ingredients. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how well you follow the rules, that charmer is just bad news, baby!