This is not a food post, but I believe I have to write this to get it off my mind and also prepare you for the new direction Dooney’s Kitchen is taking. This is going to be quite long, so get ready. I had an interesting weekend to say the least. I got to see a snapshot of people’s real thoughts and reactions towards what I do. You know how you get told, don’t take people’s support for you as they truly mean it, because for many people they are only in to get what they can from you and will hail you to your face as long as you are giving them what they want. The minute you decide not to, you see their other side. That came through loud and clear these past few days. As suspicious as I mostly am of people’s intentions (because I am right 8 out of 10 times), I believe I have let my guard down and became slightly naive by assuming everyone wishes me well. People you expect so much more from, show their hands even for a brief moment. You don’t see it coming, so you get taken aback. One thing I did learn though was that, those who truly support you, will come out guns blazing in your defence. No mincing of words, no sitting on the fence. They want what’s best for you and don’t mind telling the world so, even if at the time it is not the popular view.
I have been told I over share, and people are using my recipes, my ideas in their businesses with me not getting rewarded for it. I never really got fazed by it because for me this is me, I love cooking, I love experimenting and feel happy and proud I am making a difference in people’s lives. Last week, the idea came to make Ogi into Ice cream with Coconut. Considering I made Ogi accidentally and the only reason I didn’t throw it away was because Lola Ashiru was championing the cause and I also thought to see if Ice Cream would work with Ogi. In my excitement, I shared it on SYTCC and the responses I got though good, the tone changed when I refused to share the recipe. Funny enough, I actually meant to, but was waiting to properly plate the ice cream, take pretty pictures etc. Gosh the unwell wishers truly came out of the woodwork, when the recipe was not forthcoming. Even after a friend truly came out on my behalf and said Dunni, don’t share this one, before you get told it is now being sold commercially, just like my Kilishi and Suya pizza is now being sold at Pizza stores in Lagos. The reaction I got was quite disturbing. Luckily, I am not one to cry but it did make me feel quite sad.
To now start seeing further comments that downright implied what I did isn’t a big deal, it can be figured out, you want to go through the trouble of keeping it a secret, lets see you try, you don’t have the manpower or resources, you can’t patent a food recipe, you have been open and sharing all the while, why stop now (I bet you half the people are not trying it for their personal use – here’s my cynicism coming forth). What will be will be, even if someone uses your idea commercially, it doesn’t mean you won’t be rewarded in another place. You can be hired to work for so so and so to develop recipes for them. No thank you ma’am, I don’t want to be anyone’s employee, you truly wish me well, you should say oh, I see you running your own business, providing stuff for people to buy and use, not box my dreams up, under some supermarket will employ me to do such and such. Really!!!! I am doing all this to catch the attention of a freaking supermarket and be their recipe developer. REALLY!!! If I was your sister, would you say such?
Some even went far ahead to pull out similar recipes just to show that if you won’t share, please go sit down. Hey people, here’s how she did it, this is something that has been done before, you can use this in place of Ogi. If I found such, out of respect for the person and in good faith, knowing I want her to succeed, I wouldn’t basically draw a red line to similar things because it will remove the “specialness” from the person’s work. But not everyone thinnks like me, for some people decency and being a true and kind person is not in their dictionary. If you look hard, such people will call themselves “Christians”. This is no attack on Christianity. To be honest, I never saw those links they put up, the idea to do this came from my Kenwood recipe manual. I didn’t even use all the ingredients or measurements stated in the manual. It was a lot of trial and error, totally on my own that created that Ice cream. And these are people I had initially thought were so supportive and would like to see Dooney’s Kitchen grow beyond a blog. They leave comments praising my work, I found out it was all “eye service”. As long as I am sharing, using my own money, my own time, my energy, my effort, if it just stays as a blog that continually feeds you what you want, you don’t care. Such selfishness is incredible to say the least. You basically pulled the rug from under my feet and thought nothing of it. This is how you know those that don’t really wish you well. We as a people, are not in the habit of forming a ladder around each other to lift each other up. We as Nigerians are not the type who help each other up to the top, forgetting that it is a collective effort, when Nigerian food gets to the heights I am aiming it for, it will benefit all of us, yet we complain about the state of affairs in the country. I have always noticed it, but as they say experience teaches you. Forgetting that if I didn’t share that it can be done, you wouldn’t have know where to go looking. That is the beauty of inventions. Nothing is new under the sun, but someone took the time and energy to try something from what already exists. I will never forget this, lessons learned.
Amidst the sadness though, many comments were coming which lifted my spirits and restored my faith. People who championed my cause and said, allow her to keep this one to herself, shouldn’t she be rewarded for all her work, she has given enough to earn the right to keep this a secret. Quite a handful of comments along those lines. To you guys, you know yourselves. I won’t mention your names, as much as I would love to personally honour you, but your support strengthened my resolve. I will never forget what you wrote, never. I have a very long memory and when the time comes for me to do something wonderful for you, I will not hold back.
It wouldn’t stop me from doing what I do, I will blog about food, I can’t stop now, but from henceforth, I will start keeping my test experiments to myself. I am a very cynical person and I let my guard down, good thing I did though because if this didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have gotten the message some people who truly wished me well were saying about me over sharing. I have dreams to turn what I do into a very profitable business, the first of its kind, but it is clear now that to do that, I have to be a little selfish and start thinking of myself. You have always been wowed by the directions I take food to, and if I don’t hold back now, when it is time to dip into your pockets and pay for something I produce, many will tell themselves, nah, we’ve seen all she can do, nothing special. I have to now cultivate the habit of an air of mystery. Like how you only get to see an excerpt of a book, the trailer of a movie, which prompts you to go buy the book or watch the movie. One phrase came out ringing very loudly in my ears after I read the comment. It went thus “from henceforth anything that can be commercially viable, no matter how excited you are about it, never ever let it out because you will get people screaming recipeeeeee”.
I also learnt something about competition and how it can bring out the meaness and nastiness from seemingly good people. To you I say, A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms. There is room at the top for everybody. Bringing someone down doesn’t make a headway for you. The powers that be, don’t work like that. You may gain a little edge at first, but you will come crashing down so hard and fall flat on your face. You want to run down someone else’s hard work, take the shine off someone else, you will reap what you sow. I have the confidence to know that The Grace that has always been on my side will sort you out. I don’t even need to will it. It has always come to my support in the past, you don’t want to know where people who have done the same to me in the past are now, trust me. You want to step on me to advance yourself, I laugh, I truly laugh. I say bring it on, you will only be working towards your downfall.
And for the shameless copycats too, keep picking on my ideas, running off and doing it, that is all you will be known for. Lifting words off my blog, picking from me and adding to your own. I told my mum about it and she said errr, my dear, welcome to success. This is a mark of success. If no one is copying you, it means you are not doing things well. Those that are truly in the know, will know who is the original and who is the fake. Let them continue living in your shadow, that is where they will always be, while you press on to greater heights. So, to the shameless copycats, Oladunni Snr has spoken. Keep at it my dear, that will be what you are known for – Copying. I get notices from people, exposing your handiwork. I may not be able to do anything about it, but I know you will be dealt with from on High. As for chasing my shadow, get prepared dear, cos bigger things are coming, and chasing my shadow will become very exhausting for you. That I promise you. Believe me, you are NOT my competition, not even close. To be my competition, you would have to at least, be at the same level and it is obvious you are just a poor imitation. Word of advice, get some integrity for yourself, carve out your own identity and stop waiting for me to do something, while you run off like a rat that you are and go do something similar. You want to play with the big dogs, you better have your own bite. You can’t be as good as the person you are copying.
Sorry I had to unburden myself with this post. I felt it was necessary. This is a personal blog after all. Again, I salute those who really stood by my dreams. I pray The Lord will meet you at your point of needs and lift you up. You will attract people who will also lift you up. All our dreams will come true By His Grace. Looking forward to seeing you and interacting with you at the top. You will be part of the success of Dooney’s Kitchen. Amen.