About

Who

Ozoz Sokoh – the Kitchen Butterfly – is a Nigerian food explorer, culinary anthropologist and food historian passionate about food in its entirety – cooking, eating, dreaming, researching, writing, photographing and styling it , especially on her blog, Kitchen Butterfly. A ‘Traveller by plate’, she uses foodways – the social, cultural and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food to explore the world because ‘Food is more than eating’.

You’ll find my artist’s portfolio here – The Art of Kitchen Butterfly.

For the first 9 years of my life, I hated food and really loved sugar. I redefined the concept of food storage and preservation as a child- often going to bed with my dinner in my mouth (which always seemed to miraculously reappear behind the deep freezer!). Ask my mum who can’t believe it when she sees me these days, a little bit round.

A Brief History

‘Thank you Wimpy, you saved my life’. That’s what the headlines should have said in the summer of ’85 when my dad took my older sis and I to Edinburgh. We went to the festival which rocked. We saw the marches, walked in the gardens and caught a glimpse of the floral clock, all on the fateful day when…… hunger struck!I was 9 years old and had never experienced a day’s hunger in my entire life.

This girl suddenly found herself ravenous and starving so that when we arrived at Wimpy, I literally fell on my kid’s meal – something or the other with fries, can’t remember exactly what it was but I ate it and washed it down with Miranda. My dad, in shock watched me for the first time in his entire life, eat my way through a meal with neither threat nor tears! In delight, bless his soul, he asked if I wanted a second meal and having savoured the flavour of junk food, I said yes! yes!! yes!!! and I ate it ALL up. And then I cried.

Full and over-fed to the point of pain. Never before had that happened. My little stomach had been stretched beyond its bounds….and it hasn’t looked back since. Poor thing, ….. sometimes.

Why the name, Kitchen Butterfly?

I’ve evolved in distinct phases – like the butterfly. I am flighty. I am constantly seeking…. content with my life but still in search of more. I am big on combinations – cross-pollinating and cross-fertilisation. I’m big on flavours and textures. I love pretty. And colour.

Eggs CaterpillarChrysalis Flighty

Yet another food blog?

Yes, to add to the millions in the blogosphere! Well, I have too many notebooks. Too many recipes in my head. Uncooked, unloved, unshared. I can’t go on like this. When I discovered that there were other food fiends out there like me, who oohed and ahhed and poohed (over their goofs and gaffes), I realised I didn’t have to stay pen-glued-to-paper. Actually, even though I’d been reading blogs for a couple of years, it never occurred to me to start my own.

And Nigerian cuisine – because you deserve to know about the best, most awesome culinary treasure trove of all the world. 

22 Things

  1. I’m a born foodie… well, forget the 9-year post birth period. They don’t count
  2. I’m always up to and in the middle of something
  3. When he was 2 years old, I thought my son was a natural cook because he was addicted to spoons, till I read Talent is overrated
  4. My girls love to cook with me, sometimes they don’t eat, can’t eat the things we’ve made like my granary pizza…. sorry no pictures yet. I’ll try and repeat the miserable feat and tell
  5. I dispel the myth that all Black people can dance
  6. I’m constantly craving something
  7. I hate to throw things away. I’m a proud collector of many a thing – buttons, cookbooks and other ‘stuff’
  8. I love to shop
  9. I’d rather shop for veg than shoes
  10. Yes, food shopping over all else. Except perhaps mason jars
  11. You’ll find me headed to the ‘sales aisles’ when I go into a home shop
  12. I almost always have a pen(cil) and notebook with me.
  13. I vacillate between absolute organized chaos (my kids are my excuse) and compulsive cleaning
  14. I love combinations – food, talk and photos, what more could a girl wish for? Don’t ask me or I’ll tell
  15. I love to take bite-sized slices of life and grow in leaps and bounds
  16. Sometimes I eat a whole dinner standing up, before dinnertime
  17. I am a little good at improvising
  18. I make a recipe as is…. on very rare occasion
  19. I am addicted to certain herbs and spices – cilantro, green cardamom
  20. I love travel and discovering new things
  21. I feel really blessed to be who I am and have all I have
  22. I want more, but I’m thankful to God for today

Contact

All Rights Reserved: All photographs and written content are the property of Kitchen Butterfly © 2009 – 2020, Ozoz Sokoh, unless otherwise stated.

Copyright Guidelines: short excerpts of blog posts are permitted for inclusion in features but must be properly attributed by including my (blog) name and a link back to the post/ page. Please do not copy my posts – texts and/or photographs without permission, even if you intend to attribute them. Thank you.

More Info? Enquiries, questions, thoughts, suggestions? Email – info@kitchenbutterfly.com

8 Comments

  1. I stumbled upon your “Nigerian Dry Produce” blog from 2013 whilst doing some research into sugar cane. Result:Nostalgia.

    I grew up in Gusau and Sokoto in northern Nigeria in the 80’s, moving to Kaduna in the 90’s. I now live near London. My mother is Lebanese, and my father is Nigerian, and I have so many fond memories of the food. The deep fried sweet potato and kose, and the grilled corn, all cooked by the roadside. The pepe soup, the tuwo and mian kuka, the Kuli Kuli, and the suya served with chopped tomatoes and onions (in a torn up cement bag lining), the several varieties of mangos…

    I also recall a particular candy, opaque white in colour, resembling pulled sugar sticks cut up into little disk-like shapes, but i cant seem to remember what they were called…

    Thankfully, at least some ingredients can be found in the multicultural markets of East London, although some of the exotic stuff cant.
    I recall once coming across a vegetable stall selling yams. I asked the stereotypical east London shopkeeper for a yam, to which he promptly replied “For boiling, pounding, or frying?”. Multiculturalism at its finest!

    • Nostalgia is such a beautiful thing. Thank you for writing.

      The candy you speak of – Alewa? Balewa? of pulled sugar. IF that’s it, you’re not alone. We – my oldest daughter and I are obsessed. And wow to that yam comment – the days past! There’s a lot online these days as well and a number of vendors ship out of Nigeria. Let me know if I can help. Best,

      • Yes, Alewa it is!
        And of the commercial sweet varieties we had the Tom Toms, the Trebor mints and Ginger Orange (i only just discovered that Trebor is backwards for Robert…), and the pink Robot chewing gum. I remember when you could get these for only a few Kobo.
        Then the Crest, Bitter Lemon, Mirinda etc, we used to swap over the crates of empties for full ones. And the Fanta in the brown bottle which always stood out, i think it was tonic water or something. There were prizes to be won sometimes if you found a symbol under the bottle cap.
        The Fan ice cream, and the other ice creams you could buy from the person with the coolbox bike.
        Joy soap and the Joy girl adverts, and the premier soap with the slogan “The one soap that’s two soaps in one soap” because you could use it for bathing as well as washing dishes!

        Ok, i’ll stop there. Thanks for reminding me of the name of the sweets.

        • Oh myyyyyyy. That sounds amazing.

          Any memories of Chapman, Green Sands? Walls ice cream? So much we used to have. I remember all of them. Treborrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr with the white, orange and brown pack and orange mints. Sigh. Sigh. So much to remember. I still love Mirinda and yes, that was tonic water in the brown fanter bottle and ginger ale in the green.

          Thank you for bringing it all back x

  2. Oh! I’m so delighted to learn about the ‘you’ behind the food curtains. I’ve been a fan for several years and you’ve been my passive mentor for that long. I’m particularly drawn not only to your vast knowledge about food from different continents but also to your unique expressions with food…
    I love how your philosophy about food is that it’s “beyond eating”, a philosophy we share in common. I constantly envision being impacted by your wealth of knowledge (even beyond food) and on my bucket list is meeting with you when next I come to Nigeria!

  3. Hi, I am a growing Nigerian chef, we think alike and I fell in love with you when I read your farofa piece. I discovered farofa two nights ago and as soon as I saw it on final table I knew it was flavored garri. I literally wrote half of the ideas I had in my note pad and discussed it with my sister. As soon as I saw the piece all my writings were in your piece. From imagining all garri can be, to the similarities between our customer and Latin America and also silencing the small thinkers who feel garri should only be eba. I am so happy to read how exposed you are. You are lucky, I have been in Nigeria all my life all I know about food. I researched my Ass out to learn. I look forward to picking your brain for my insightful ideas. You have a new fan girl!!!

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