Plantain lovers or Dodo Gang as they are called on socials have proven over time the essence and ingenuity that lies in the cooking and eating of plantain. Dodo is the Yoruba word for fried plantain. The Yoruba ethnic group can be found in southwestern Nigeria they speak the language Yoruba which is one of the thousands of languages spoken on the African continent.
In this locality, dodo is what many who identify with plantain’s uniqueness among other food call it as it has also been scientifically nomenclated as genus Musa. The gang, however, added to the word dodo on social media is a way of showing the exceptional love and the interconnectedness commonly shared by its lovers. Asides from even being gang members you as well find some other social media users who take pride in the fact that they are schooled in Dodoversity. This could be a way of saying our plantain went to Harvard University or lovers of plantain are also educated.
Whether you show membership by being a gang or by attending Dodoversity we believe it is a love that abounds, it has transcended generations till date, it is a love shared across various countries and cultures.
The love for plantain is what the authors, Morenike “Renny” Ayo-Vaughan (Independent chef and Food blogger at Bites By Renny) and Dimeji ‘Bash’ Eyiowuawi (Founder of The plantain lifestyle brand, Dodo Gang) of 10 Easy Ways to Love Plantain have exuded to other plantain lovers around the world in the “simple romantic cookbook”.
It is a cookbook authored by plantain lovers, for plantain lovers. It is a cookbook written to give encomium and pedagogic instructions on the diverse ways to prepare dodo.
MCZ: Following your work, over the years My Cookery Zone is very much aware that you love plantain ‘dodo’ what prompted this interest?
DG: The taste first, the versatility next. I found myself unable to enjoy rice without plantain. I would go to a different location if there wasn’t plantain at a restaurant. It was the first thing I asked for everywhere i went. I was always looking for ways to eat plantain. I would be thinking of my next plantain meal while eating the current one. I wanted to try plantains everywhere I went. I was basically living The Plantain Lifestyle before I came up with the brand.
MCZ: With the inflation in food prices plantain inclusive how was it creating content around it?
BBR: I got creative and started scheduling my content creation around needing to cook for my friends and family. I started making sure that the days I hosted guests coincided with the days I had to shoot.
MCZ: Speaking of the cookbook what’s the backstory behind writing a plantain cookbook also how were you able to team up with your co-author?
DG: I’m an Alternative Spoken word Artiste. So, in the early days of Dodo Gang’s social media presence, I used to write a lot of witty poetic captions on Instagram about the food pictures I was posting. I didn’t own the food pictures, but I always gave credit to the owners. I soon realized that the audience were actually more interested in reading the captions than the actual food pictures. I noticed that there was a demand for my literature but I didn’t have the clarity on exactly how to supply.
Someone commented under a post with the idea for a plantain series comic cookbook and Renny seconded the idea. I know that cooking and creating recipes is not my strongest skill, so I needed to collaborate with someone on it. Previously, I had written some captions to Renny’s food pictures and I admired her work. For the fact that she already seconded the idea, it only seemed natural to approach her and ask if she will be willing to collaborate on it, she said yes and the rest is history.
MCZ: Writing a cookbook can be exhausting and the recipe creation process inclusive, take us through the writing process and co-authoring with Dodo Gang?
BBR: It took us a couple of years to experiment with recipe ideas, discuss what recipes we thought the audience would love, the types of pictures we needed, and the type of commentary Bash would provide. We created so many recipes that also didn’t make the cut, but it was a fun process overall. We were patient with each other and also offered feedback when needed. All in all, it took patience and aligning on the same vision to pull us through.
MCZ: Using plantain or any other food item to create masterpieces is interesting to some but some prefer the conventional way of cooking. Why?
BBR: This is because we always revert back to the foods that make us comfortable and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some may like to explore plantain recipes and some like plantain how they like it. This is why the book includes traditional and modern methods for cooking with plantain.
MCZ: Which of the 10 easy ways to love plantain from the cookbook will you consider your favorite?
DG: All of them to be honest, Renny outdid herself with the recipes. But the “Boli or Bole?” Chapter is one of my favorite chapters in the book.
MCZ: Plantain can be used in creating so many things which will you say is your favorite?
BBR: My favorite plantain creation is the Plantain Beds and Shrimp Stuffed Plantains, which are all included in the book. I love the idea of using plantains as appetizers.
MCZ: How easy will you say the recipes in the cookbook 10 easy ways to love plantain is?
BBR: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, 15!
MCZ: How and where can Plantain aka. Dodo lovers get a copy of the cookbook?
DG: Physical Copies of the Book are available at Ouida Books and Roving Heights Bookstores in Nigeria for N7,000 only.
Gangsters can also buy the e-book here for only $12: www.teneasywaystoloveplantain.com
Dodo Gangsters can also DM @10easywaystoloveplantain to get a signed physical copy.
MCZ: What are the other projects coming up that you’ll want dodo gang members to be aware of?
DG: We don’t serve the plantain till the dodo is done! We’d like to urge our Dodo Gangsters to be on the lookout for the plantain that is cooking. But definitely, merchandise, events and plenty surprises.