A little history. When I started the blog in 2013, months later, I asked people to contribute their own recipes. I called it Foodie Community recipes, and it didn’t take off at all. The only two people that submitted recipes were Grace – a meaty vegetable sauce HERE and Ms Socially Awkward HERE. I wasn’t too happy about that, but i just let it slide because back then, recipe sharing, food picture sharing wasn’t something that was practised fervently in the online Nigerian food community, unlike now, that it has grown into a movement on its own, which I attribute to SYTYCC on Facebook. That group is beast, and I mean that in a good way. Someone else that definitely needs to be mentioned here, one of the greatest influences of pop culture in our time, Bella Naija. My friend Kemi and I can never forget the explosion that happened in November 2013 when on a post I shared on Bella Naija, I mentioned the group, and as they say, the rest is history. Since then, the steady rise of Nigerian food on social media has grown tremendously, that popularity has birthed many new food bloggers. Progress!!!!
When I was going to design the site, one of the questions I was asked was, what features do you have that you want to improve. The foodie community was very high on the list. With a bit of research, to see what is out there, the thought to create a sub site of the blog, so it is a fully fledged site, not connected to any social media platform came to mind, and the web developer said, sure it is very possible. Hundreds of such sites exist, Dunni I can give you this. See that picture? See Date last modified…
That is how long this has been ruminating. Since June. That date wasn’t even when thoughts of the idea started. That was just the last time I modified that post, and I haven’t looked back since, because everything, and I mean everything that could go wrong, went wrong. At some point, I thought okay, maybe this isn’t just meant to be. You know like a horrible relationship that isn’t going nowhere, and despite trying to make it work, you just admit this isn’t working and you call it quits. Yup, I gave up on this and decided to focus on just custom designing the site for the blog. When that one too goes live, I will share my horror stories. I don’t know which sounds worse or even more interesting.
When I thought there was some hope of the site being designed, I hired a graphics designer for the logo. Here’s to you Johnny. Yeah, you probably wanted to wring my neck a couple of times, but see what you produced after the millionth iteration. The logo was ready, hopes for the site were dashed again, money was wasted again. I thought, what is this now? There is a phrase my parents live by, and it has passed unto me because of our faith. “When your need is greatest, help is nearest to you”. Just like that, in fact, faster than the snap of a finger, a solution came across my path. You know how you’ve been in a crappy situation for a long time, and suddenly the clouds just lift. It definitely felt like that. I look back at the time now, time that I thought was time wasted, and I know now, that I was given that time to learn, to observe, to dream up more functionalities for this site, in fact even time for obstacles to be taken off my path, time for this to rise out of the ashes, when the time was right. I want to encourage anyone going through a crappy situation right now. I may not be able to tell you when those clouds will lift, but hold your head up, and hang in there. They WILL lift. That one, I can assure you.
So, what is this site about, well it is the online community of Dooney’s Kitchen and beyond. I have received many emails of your recipes, your pictures of dishes, your feedback, and I had wished I could file them all somewhere, but there was no way to do that through the site. Someone was definitely thinking in that direction too, because on Feb 4th Jola from Imperial College, who initially emailed me to discuss food for a party emailed me and said “So off the top of my head, not like there’s a real structure I had in mind, it’s just to bring foodies together, where people can sign up and join. So people who just love to eat good food, people who know how to make good food etc. and it seems everyone is passionate about Naija food. So why not harness the energy?” Jola was talking about a cooking club, but without knowing, our thoughts had connected somewhere. She said “There can be various groups depending on location. U don’t have to be in all the groups but they coordination is managed from your site…a section on your site. They have to sign up and join. Maybe each group has a maximum number of 10 women. Meet up once a month. It’s still sketchy in my head sha”. I smiled and told her, I had something in the offing, something even bigger that that, but of course, I couldn’t give details, because I didn’t have any, not even a page designed. See when I said, the time I had been waiting, wasn’t wasted. I was being prepared for how amazeballs this site is going to be. Yes, people, it has features that will just blow your mind. The first of its kind. The logo of Dooney’s Kitchen Tribe says – connecting people through food, and that is exactly what it is going to be.
Where did the name Tribe come from? The very first developer I hired in June. She was to start with designing the logo, which was such a huge joke really, but something good came out of it. She said oh, maybe you should show this logo to your Tribe, and see, because they may have a different perspective from you. I asked what she meant by Tribe, and she said oh your friends, your followers, your readers, your community in general. You have built up a “tribe” of people that read your blog. Their input in the logo may be helpful. That is how the idea locked in, and somehow, I kept seeing inferences of Tribe everywhere. Sometimes it made smile, at other times it just hurt, because my tribe site was nowhere even near starting. 8 months on now, and Dooney’s Kitchen Tribe has launched. Where is this site you say…….. head on down to tribe.dooneyskitchen.com. No, the www is not needed, because it is a sub domain. Click HERE.
Look around and don’t forget to hit the Sign up button and become a Triber. We are going to rock the Internet. Imagine if a manufacturer wants to run a campaign or research on food in Nigeria, or Afro Caribbean’s living anywhere around the world, or a news story is developing, or something. When we get large enough, where do you think they will go? You guys have been talking about how we need to put Nigerian food on the map, trust me food bloggers can’t do it alone. The world needs to hear from you guys, from the perspective of home cooks. It may have started from Dooney’s Kitchen, but the grand picture is something so much bigger. I hope you will support this initiative, and support en masse. Tell your friends and family. A Tribe of Nigerian Cooks has formed online. Sign up and let us grow into a juggernaut that cannot be ignored. If you live in the UK, think of MumsNet, If you live in Nigeria, think of Nairaland. If you live in the US, think of Humans of New York. Get it now? Nigerian food can just be as influential. Welcome to Dooney’s Kitchen Tribe.