By Huma Siddiqui
Annika Konrad encouraged me to write my thoughts for this wonderful project about growing up with a mother who was blind for most of her life. My mother was one of the bravest people I have ever met. Her resiliency, positive attitude and perseverance are only a few of the attributes I believe I learned from her. I do believe that I would not have been able to cope with the many twists and turns in my own life without these strengths.
One of the stories I wanted to share was that my mom was always worried that I would not turn out to be a good cook because she was unable to be in the kitchen with me to share the tricks of the trade. It is a big deal in the culture and a mother’s responsibility to make sure that the daughters are raised to be gracious hostesses and great cooks. I was the only daughter and the youngest one in the family. As a young girl, I really couldn’t understand her concerns and all the hoopla around it. We always had a lot of help in the kitchen and around the house, and I didn’t think anything would change during my adult life. My mom used to say, “Huma, when you get married, I don’t want to hear that my daughter doesn’t know how to cook.” To make my mom happy, I learned some of the basic recipes as I prepared food with our family cook at the time.
Lo and behold, I got married and left the country to pursue my married life in a completely new country. Believe it or not, I did start to cook and clean, etc., because there was no help available and I was kind of on my own. My passion for cooking and entertaining started from there on. I used to write to my mom to let her know what I cooked that day and I was inviting people to my home for dinner, etc. My goal was really to ensure that she could feel happy that she did not fail as a mother, and her daughter did turn out to be somewhat what she wanted.
I have cooked hundreds of meals for my kids, friends and family over the years. Here I am, almost 30+ years later, owning a spice business with my dearest son, teaching cooking classes and hosting a weekly cooking show to introduce people to the art and benefits of cooking at home and enjoying it with family and friends. My first cookbook, Jasmine in Her Hair- Culture and Cuisine from Pakistan was published a few years ago. The title is actually a tribute to my mother because she used to wear Jasmine flowers in her hair, and as my first cookbook, it has to be a tribute to her.
Huma Siddiqui grew up in Pakistan and now lives in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin where she hosts a cooking show called White Jasmine.
Featured image: owned by Huma Siddiqui